Black bears use a variety of habitats depending on the season, but prefer habitats with a dense understory. Ideal habitats provide food, shelter, and corridors for travel. Black bears are considered an "umbrella" species – a wide ranging species whose protection (and habitat’s protection) in turn protects numerous other species.
Preferred habitats contain trees and shrubs that produce nuts and fruits. There are 19 species of oaks native to Florida and each produces a different kind of acorn, most are seasonal favorites of bears. One of the most important plants to Florida’s bears are palmettos (Serenoa repens).
Bears eat the heart and the seasonal berries from the plant and female bears den in dense palmetto stands when giving birth every other year in late January or early February.