Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Critter of the week Sept. 6: Florida Black Bear

This week's critter is the threatened Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus), a subspecies of the more common black bear (Ursus americanus). Black bears belong to the family Ursidae which consists of nine species, three of which can be found in the United States (polar bear and grizzly bear are the other two but we don't get them here!).

Our black bear typically weighs from 250-450 pounds for males and 150-250 for females. these critters get that big as omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter; the majority of their diet is vegetation though such as acorns, nuts, berries, other vegetation such as alligator flag and even insects. The meat they eat is most often scavenged.

Florida black bears are faced with the serious problem of habitat fragmentation. They are forced to travel farther to find new food, denning sites, and mates. As a result of human encroachment in the form of roads, approximately 85% of bear deaths each year are attributed to road kills.Many of these deaths could be avoided by slowing down! Thanks to Linda Berthelsen for the photo above!

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