The Louisiana black bear is one of sixteen recognized subspecies of the American black bear U. americanus (Hall, 1981). The species was formerly widespread in North America, from northern Alaska, including Newfoundland, south to central northern Mexico (Lowrey, 1981). The Louisiana black bear historically occurred from eastern Texas, throughout Louisiana and southwest Mississippi (Hall 1981) and is distinguished from other black bears by possessing a skull that is longer, more narrow, and flat, and by possessing proportionately large molar teeth (Nowak, 1986). The Louisiana black bear is a large, bulky mammal with long, coarse black hair and a short, well-haired tail. The facial profile is blunt, the eyes small, and the nose pad broad with large nostrils. The muzzle is yellowish brown with a white patch sometimes present on the lower throat and chest. Black bears have five toes with short, curved claws on the front and hind feet. The median estimated weight for male and female Louisiana black bears in north Louisiana is 292 lb (133 kg) and 147 lb (67 kg), respectively (Weaver 1999). This is similar to that reported for black bears throughout their range by Pelton (2003).
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