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Black bears are common in Washington, and populations are related to the amount of available habitat. Black bears are the smallest of North American bears, and they live primarily in forested areas, including swamps and mountains. Forests interspersed with streams and swamps are prime bear habitat. 

Black bears come in several shades of brown, in addition to the black coat from which they get their name. Adult black bears range from five to six feet in length and weigh from 100 to 400 pounds. Yearling black bears weigh from 60 to 120 pounds. 

Black bears are primarily nocturnal, preferring to move about under cover of darkness or at dusk or dawn. Bears are usually solitary. Black bears occupy territories that vary considerably in size, depending upon the habitat, the availability of food, and the number of other bears in the area. Larger male bears usually occupy larger territories.

Black bears are omnivorous but mostly vegetarian. Black bears can feed on a variety of plants and animals depending largely upon opportunity. Typical foods include grasses, wood fiber, berries, nuts, tubers, insects, small mammals, eggs, and carrion. Bears seldom starve.

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