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|Classification||Ursus americanus emmonsii|
|Species Type||Black Bear|
|Prey||Meat: Pacific salmon, moose and deer|
Plants: Young shoots and roots, starchy roots of ground cones, blueberries, salmonberries, raspberries, and cranberries.
|Ancestor(s)||American Black Bear|
|Subspecies||California Black Bear, Cinnamon Bear, Dall Black Bear, Eastern Black Bear, Florida Black Bear, Haida Gwaii Black Bear, Kenai Black Bear, Kermode Bear, Mexican Black Bear, New Mexico Black Bear, Newfoundland Black Bear, Olympic Black Bear, Vancouver Island Black Bear, and West Mexico Black Bear|
The glacier bear (Ursus americanus emmonsii), sometimes referred to as the blue bear, is a subspecies of American black bear with silver-blue or gray hair endemic to Southeast Alaska. There is little scientific knowledge of their total extent and the cause of their unique coloration. Most of the other black bears in Southeast Alaska are listed under the subspecies Ursus americanus pugnax.
The chief feature distinguishing the glacier bear from other black bears is its pelage (hair coloration), which ranges from silvery blue to gray. This variation can be seen on individual bears that are often lighter on their backs and shoulders, with their legs and belly being much darker or even black. Currently there is no evidence to determine if this coloration is the only physical characteristic that is unique to the glacier bear compared to other black bears.
The glacier bear's habitat ranges from Prince William Sound to Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska, with a few sightings as far east as Juneau, Alaska and the Taku River. This region includes Glacier Bay National Park and portions of Tongass National Forest, a temperate rainforest preserve.
Glacier bears share most of the characteristics of black bears such as their habitat preferences, food sources, size and reproductive cycles. They prefer forest with thick understory and landscapes with lots of vegetation, but can be found in urban populated areas. The glacier bear habitat is dependent upon food source availability, and they will move between forest, meadows, streams and mountains in search of food and shelter. Black bears in general are very capable climbers and can use trees as a place of protection and refuge. Glacier bears will move into their dens in early winter, which can be an overturned tree, a rock ledge or a cave.
Glacier bears, like all other black bears, are omnivores with their diets varying depending on the food source available during the season and the location. Their diet includes young shoots and roots in early spring. Like most Alaskan bears, during the summer months in Alaska, the glacier bear will eat the abundant Pacific salmon spawning in the streams. In some areas moose and deer are a food source for black bears. During the fall the bears will eat the starchy roots of ground cones and variety of berries found in Alaska such as blueberries, salmonberries, raspberries, and cranberries.
Breeding habits are much like any other black bear. The glacier bear will normally have their first litter by 3–5 years of age. This breeding period will take place in June through July. Gestation last 235 days and cubs will be born in January to early February. Because of the increasing range of all subspecies of black bear since the last glacier maximum, there is interbreeding taking place. For this reason it is possible to see a black-in-color bear give birth to a bear with the Glacier bear pelage and vice versa.