Black bears are generally black with a brown muzzle and commonly have a chest marking called a blaze. This blaze can be as little as a few white hairs to a large white patch. Black bears are compact and strong boned with small eyes, small round ears, and a short tail that can vary from 3-6 inches in length. Average body weights of black bears are 150-400+ lbs for adult males and 100-250 lbs for adult females, much larger individuals have been documented in Mississippi as well as throughout the southeast. Black bears range from 3-6 feet long from nose to tail and 2-3 feet tall at the shoulder. Females generally reach full size at 5 years of age while males will not reach their full potential until 8 years of age. Both sexes can continue to increase in body mass as they get older. Black bears have relatively poor eyesight, but possess acute near-vision and can see in color. Black bears are referred to as plantigrade (meaning they walk flat on the soles of their feet similar to humans), with short non-retractable claws on the end of each of their five toes. They are able to run at speeds of up 35 mph and are exceptional swimmers. Black bears are very intelligent animals with a keen memory and a phenomenal sense of smell.