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New Mexico State Animal
Adopted on February 8, 1963
The Black Bear, Ursus americanus, was adopted as New Mexico's Animal on February 8, 1963.
Smokey the Bear, probably the most famous bear in the history of the United States, was a New Mexico black bear cub found alive in a tree after a massive forest fire in the Lincoln National Forest near Capitan, NM. In 1950, the US Forest Service and the Advertising Council utilized Smokey as the symbol for fire prevention campaigns conducted all over the country. Smokey received much notoriety, lived to a ripe old age, and was buried at Smokey Bear State Park in Capitan.
Description of the New Mexico State Animal
American Black Bears are up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long and weigh up to 300 pounds (135 kg). Their long, thick fur ranges in color from black to brown. Like all bears, they are plantigrade (flat-footed). The front claws are longer than the rear claws. Its habitat in West Virginia is primarily in the eastern mountain region. The black bear still roams freely throughout 36 states and Canada.
Black Bears are good swimmers and can also climb trees. They have a good sense of smell but have poor eyesight. They are afraid of Grizzly Bears and stay far away from them.
Two to three cubs are born during the winter while the mother hibernates. Cubs stay with the mother for about one year.
American Black Bears are omnivoes who eat plants, leaves, fruits, berries, nuts, roots, hone
Females reach sexual maturity at 3 to 4 years of age and mating will take place in June, July and August. Pairs may come together for a few hours or several days, copulating many times. Gestation is approximately 220 days and the cubs are born in their mother's winter den in January or February. Cubs are weaned at around 8 months but may remain with their mother for a year and a half.
Black bears are usually solitary animals except females with young. A pair may come together for several days during mating season and in time of abundant food, several bears may feed closely together with little interaction. Male bears keep large territories that overlap the smaller ranges of several females. Bears will leave territorial signposts both through scent marking and by leaving long claw marks in tree bark.
Taxonomic Hierarchy of the Black Bear
State Animals and Mammals
Mammals are vertebrates (backboned animals) that feed their young on mother's milk.
Animals and Mammals
Mammals are one group of animals. Bears, cats, monkeys and dolphins are mammals. So are humans. But what makes a mammal a mammal?
1. A multicellular organism of the kingdom Animalia, differing from plants in certain typical characteristics such as capacity for locomotion, nonphotosynthetic metabolism, pronounced response to stimuli, restricted growth, and fixed bodily structure.
2. An animal organism other than a human, especially a mammal.
Any of various warm-blooded vertebrate animals of the class Mammalia, including humans, characterized by a covering of hair on the skin and, in the female, milk-producing mammary glands for nourishing the young.