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Black Bear Voices

This is an Audio Page!



Giving Voice to Bear

Black bears typically do not walk around vocalizing. They rarely growl, and what you hear from a bear in a TV show or movie is oftentimes the growl of a wolf that has been laid over the video clip. Perhaps bears feel they are ferocious enough without a growl!


However there are times that a black bear will vocalize.



Wildlife Biologist Inspecting Newborn Black Bear Cubs,

Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge

Used With Permission.

Copyright US Fish & Wildlife Service

From the Alaska Image Library: Usage Must Be Under Terms


Frustrated with other bear programs that don't really show you

what is going on in a bear's den? Big build up, then not so much?

Then this is a must see for you!


See well-lit scenes of tiny 4-day-old black bears in the winter den

with their mother. See how they find their dinner before their little eyes

are open, see how their mother cares for them in their warm den

while it is snowing outside! Very rare and unusual film of

tiny newborn bears! After that, watch little black bears grow up wild

and see them interact with their siblings and with their mother.


Click here to read about this most amazing DVD documentary program!


Footage of baby bears with their mother so beautiful,

you just may shed a tear when you see it!



 Audio pages are offered below.

 To use the audio in your presentation,


Click here to go to "Bears On CD"



The chattiest that black bears will be is when they are very young babies, most often in the winter den. Very young cubs do not see, and until their eyes are open they use their voices to alert their mother that they need something. We have watched baby bears in the den and seen them react to their environment and to their family. Sometimes a baby will tumble away from his mother, and will cry so that she can find him and push him back to her. Sometimes he cannot find his mother's milk and he will cry for that too (that is a different sound.) Still another sound is a cry of frustration, when he just feels too small and can't handle it. Then there is an unusual sound they make that is like a humming. They do this sound when they are nursing, or when they are sucking their paws and about to nurse. When you have more than one baby in there humming, it can be very loud.


Click here to see and hear newborn black bears in the den on a DVD documentary program!


The mother bear gets very little sleep during the first month that she has babies. If she has more than one baby, she could have somebody crying nearly all the time. The babies are constantly hungry in the beginning. All they do is drink and sleep. She has to help them find their milk when they wake up, and she has to wash them often. Later, their naps will last up to twenty minutes on a good day, and she can nap longer. As the baby bears grow, and their eyes open, they can find their way to mama's belly on their own, although she might need to guide them with her big paw, as they are still very wobbly. As they grow more, they will become a little quieter, and she can sleep more. Soon they will make little vocalizations to each other, as they begin to take interest in their brothers and sisters. They may bawl if they become strayed in the den, but usually dens are tight places, and little babies can't really get lost for long.


Later, when black bear cubs are out of the den, with their mother on the ground or up in a tree, they are extremely quiet. We suspect that is a survival mechanism that kicks in. A mother bear does not want for predators to find her babies, especially when she has left them alone for a while. She communicates to them to stay where she has put them, and to be quiet there. If a young cub that has been out with its mother becomes strayed, and feels she is near, it may bawl, but this is rare. A "bawling" is much louder than a cry. Bawling happens primarily with cubs, although an adult bear may bawl loudly when it is suddenly badly injured. That is a sound you will never forget, a very sad and forelorn sound.


All bears protect their babies from other adult bears.  There is a significant threat to cubs at mating times.  The female bear will not mate if she still has cubs with her.  If a big male bear comes along, he may force her to mate by killing the cubs.  All types of female bears protect their cubs from other adult bears.  There have documented instances of polar bears attacking polar bear cubs, most likely for food.  Mother polar bears are always on the look out when they are out with their cubs.  At places where grizzlies congregate in large numbers to catch salmon on rivers, the females with cubs will always let other bears have the prime spots, while they hang back on the edges of the shore in protected places with their cubs.  In eating frenzies around salmon runs, other adult bears may kill the cubs they perceive as interlopers on their fishing spots.


An adult black bear will usually vocalize sparingly, and only for a specific reason. When a black bear shows aggression or takes a stressed stance, it may stomp toward its adversary and make a "humph" noise from its nose or mouth when the big paw goes down. This is usually an air noise, not a vocal grunt. The adult bear may make a popping noise with its jaw to indicate that it is not happy with you or another adult bear. This is very definitely a sound of aggression and a strong warning. There is another adult bear vocal warning that is a sort of "humahumahuma" sound, that also signals that you or another bear should leave.  As always, bears vocalize for the same reasons that other animals do, to communicate.


We have put together some American Black Bear voices that we have recorded and you can hear them by clicking on the buttons below.


Caution: some of these baby voices in the den are very loud!


 This bear audio is copyrighted!

 Teachers - you may let your class hear this from our website.

 All other use, please email us!



These are the sounds of baby black bears in the winter den.


Humming & Nursing Looking For Milk Lost in Ma's Fur Tries to Turn Over


Click here to see a short video of baby black bears!

These are the sounds of babies with black bear mother, with subtle jaw-popping.

There is also a sound she makes here that sounds like "humma."

If you hear a bear make these sounds, you should leave.

It is a sound an adult bear may make when she feels threatened.


Please note, however, that bears rarely make a noise

when they are stressed - if you meet a bear in the woods

please do not think you can "read" a bear's motives or actions.

Always assume that a bear may be dangerous.

We have seen black bears charge with

no change to their facial expressions, ears, or stance!






HumaHumaHuma - 1 HumaHumaHuma - 2


On the trail, you will rarely if ever, hear a bear make a noise. They walk very quietly, they climb quietly and quickly, and they don't want for you to see them at all. If you should happen to ever hear a black bear vocalizing, jaw-popping, or swatting the ground, you need to know that you are too close to that bear, and that you should back away slowly and give the bear lots of room to leave.  Bears need escape routes to feel comfortable.


Click here to see American Black Bears up close on a wonderful DVD documentary program!



 This bear audio is copyrighted!

 Teachers - you may let your class hear this from our website.

 All other use, please email us!




Click here to return to American Black Bear

Click here to go to see Newborn Bears in the Den

Click here for Black Bear Stock Footage for Pro's





Click on bears to read about these award-winning programs!


Winners of:

The Gold Classic Telly Award, The 30th Annual Telly Awards, 2009

The Bronze Telly Award, The 27th Annual Telly Awards, 2006

Silver Remi Award, The 38th WorldFest International Film Festival, 2005

Bronze Remi Award, The 36th WorldFest International Film Festival, 2003



Click here to return to American Black Bear

Click here to go to Black Bear #1 DVD

Click here to go to Black Bear #2 DVD

Click here to go to Black Bear #3 DVD

Click here to go to Black Bear #4 DVD





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