Some of the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary’s most popular residents are North American black bears Henry and Olive. Black bears come in more colors than any other North American mammal. They can be black, brown, cinnamon, blond, blue-gray, or white.
While California’s other native bear, the grizzly, was hunted to extinction, black bears are widespread. Generally found in timber and brush areas, they are intelligent and very strong. Black bears are omnivorous, eating grass, flowers, leaves, seeds, nuts, berries, fish, eggs, ants, small animals, and carrion. They are fond of honey and will raid wild bee nests, eating the honey, honeycomb, bees and high protein larvae. Zookeepers occasionally treat the bears to honey and honeycombs from the Zoo Sanctuary’s own bee boxes.
Many bears throughout the United States find themselves in trouble as they become habituated to humans. Without fear of humans, bears can become dangerous and unable to remain in the wild. When camping it’s important to ensure food and other scented items like toothpaste are secured away so bears are not tempted to raid campsites. In areas where bears live, trash cans should be bear proof and well-meaning humans should refrain from feeding bears.