Getting Wild with the Brown Bear


PHOTO: National Park Service

Remember how you felt last time you woke up late on a Saturday morning? Now imagine going to bed around Halloween and getting up in time for April Fool’s Day. That’s roughly what the brown bear does every year, during its “winter dormancy” or hibernation period, which lasts from four to seven months. Here are some fun facts about brown bears and their winter habits:

Fact: Bears choose a new den every year.

Fact: Bears pack on extra pounds before hibernating. In preparation for losing between a third and a half of their body weight, brown bears start eating up to 90 pounds of food a day.

Fact: Brown bear hibernation is more like serious laziness than sleep. They don’t get up to go to the bathroom. But they’re often alert enough to know what’s going on.

Fact: Mother bears give birth while hibernating. The female and her cubs stay close together, keeping warm, until springtime.

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