MSPCA-Angell Headquarters

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-7400
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Angell Animal Medical Centers – Boston

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-7282
angellquestions@angell.org
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Angell West

293 Second Avenue, Waltham, MA 02451
(781) 902-8400
For on-site assistance (check-ins and pick-ups):
(339) 970-0790
angellquestions@angell.org
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Angell at Nashoba – Low-Cost Wellness Care

100 Littleton Road, Westford, MA 01886
(978) 577-5992
angellquestions@angell.org
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Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Boston

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-5055
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Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Cape Cod

1577 Falmouth Road, Centerville, MA 02632
(508) 775-0940
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Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Nevins Farm

400 Broadway, Methuen, MA 01844
(978) 687-7453
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About Black Bears

We have seen an increased buzz about bear sightings lately. While this can be scary, please remember that as humans build out more, we are taking away from the places where bears can live – they have had to adapt to having humans around.

Black bears are generally shy around people, but they may approach our dwellings if they are looking for food. If they do find food, they could come back, and even get used to humans. Becoming comfortable around humans is extremely dangerous for wildlife, so it is important to do everything we can to prevent that from happening. Watch this video, which is one of a series of our humorous takes on wildlife education, and read below  to learn more about living with bears.

BLACK BEARS IN MASSACHUSETTS

The bears you encounter in Massachusetts are black bears, the most common of the three bear types that live in North America (the others being brown bears and polar bears). Black bears grow to about five feet tall and can weigh 100 to 600 pounds.

Approximately 80 to 85% of a black bear’s diet is plant material, while the remaining 15% is made up of animal protein, making them omnivorous. Black bears will eat almost anything, such as grubs, frogs, fish, snakes, ants, grasses, nuts, and berries. Bears may forage up to 20 hours a day during autumn, increasing their body weight by 35% in preparation for winter. During this time they enter “hyperphagia,” which translates to “excessive eating.”

Black bears enter their dens to hibernate between early November and mid-December. For about 100 days the bears will not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate. Their fat stores provide them with nutrients and water, and bears typically lose about 30% of their weight during hibernation.

Black bears live solitary lives except when they are courting mates and rearing cubs. Cubs are usually born in the spring and stay with their mothers until they are about 2 years old. They become sexually mature at about age 3 but usually don’t breed until age 5.

The MSPCA's Intruder Excluder
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Detect and humanely resolve conflicts with unwanted wildlife visitors.


POSSIBLE CONFLICTS & SOLUTIONS

Although black bears have historically shied away from humans, they may wander onto human-inhabited property, primarily looking for food.

Take these steps to keep black bears away from your property:

If you run into a black bear:

(Please note: These tips are for encounters with black bears only. If you are traveling in areas where other types of bears may be present, seek information and advice about how to handle bear encounters in those regions.)

A bear encounter can be scary. These animals are most dangerous when they are accompanied by cubs, are feeding or guarding food, are injured, or are startled by the sudden appearance of a human. Bears who have frequent exposure to humans in campgrounds or around garbage dumps are less fearful and can be more dangerous. If you are in an area where you know bears may be present, carry hot-pepper spray with capsaicin as the active ingredient (if legal in that state). If sprayed from 7 to 10 feet away, the repellent irritates the eyes without permanently injuring the animal.

Follow these steps:

PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERNS

As with all mammals, bears can contract and transmit rabies.

MORE INFORMATION

Humane Exclusion Techniques and Vendors

Humane Exclusion Techniques and Vendors

Learn More

Funding for Bear-Proof Trash Receptacles

Funding for Bear-Proof Trash Receptacles

The MSPCA provides funding for bear-proof trash receptacles to help solve bear conflicts in Berkshire County.

Learn More

Living with Bear PSA

Living with Bear PSA

Check out our humorous take on what NOT to do when it comes to preventing bear interactions near your home.

Watch now!

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