North American Black Bears

Typically solitary, Zoo Knoxville’s American black bears spend much of their time together, playing, foraging, and exploring. Excellent climbers due to their smaller size and thick claws, our younger bears can sometimes be found chasing one another up the trees in play. On a hot day, you may even find our bears taking a dunk in the pool.

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Forests, Mountains, Swamps
23 Years in captivity
Least Concern
200-600 pounds


North America

Found most often in forested areas, American black bears are the most populous bear species in the world. They range from Canada down to Florida and have made a rebound in areas where they had been previously overhunted. Their greatest threat in the wild is humans, both due to habitat destruction and human encroachment on their territory. For more information, check out

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