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Theriogenology. 2003 Jul;60(2):289-97.

Breeding behavior of the American black bear Ursus americanus.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Greenville Hospital System, 890 W. Faris Road, Suite 470, SC 29605, USA.


By means of videotape, we observed and timed courtship, mating, and refractoriness in the American black bear while confined in a semicaptive environment. Sixty-six courtships resulted in mating. During courtship, the male detected estrus and receptivity in the female. Courtship lasted 22.5+/-2.3s (mean+/-S.E.M.). We videotaped and reviewed 61 matings that included mounts, pelvic thrusts, and flutters. Mating lasted 51.6+/-4.2s. Within these 61 matings, there were 24 pelvic thrusts and 14 flutters observed. Pelvic thrusts averaged 2.3+/-0.3 times, while flutters averaged 11.1+/-2.9 times. Of the 61 courtship-mating segments, 28 segments depicted a male refractory period, while 27 segments depicted a female refractory period. The male refractory period lasted 44.9+/-6.1s during which the male sat and licked his genital region. The female walked, ran away, or turned and attacked the male during her 54.2+/-8.3s refractory period. This is the first time a large number of paired ursid matings has been described and timed.

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