Hibernation, foods and dens.
Hibernation, foods and dens.
Our Fall Hibernation contest has begun. I will not be posting the bear weights this week but will repeat the last weights that were posted. Guesses will be accepted until September 25th. Click here to place your guess.
September 9th weights: Lucky 486 lbs., Holly 307 lbs., and Tasha 360 lbs. I want to wish everyone good luck with your guesses. The bears, as always, may and will surprise you.
Our weather has been interesting this year, the wild bears had a great food year. The berries both on the ground and tree fruits such as chokecherries, service berries, and pin cherries seemed unending.
At the Bear Center the foods are abundant throughout the season. Folks that donate food on a weekly, monthly, or an occasional basis know it doesn’t go to waste.
During the beginning of our season, May into the first week of June, the bears eat about 4,800 calories per day. During the normal season, which is usually the second week of June through the end of July, the bears eat around 7,500 calories. In August it increases to 8,500 calories. It drops back down in September and then again in October.
I try to replicate wild bear activity even though we have fresh food available all season. In addition to their regular meals, our bears receive hourly food/snacks during each Behind-the-Scenes tour.
The bears are now in Stage 5 of hibernation or Fall Transition. To learn more about Fall Transition and Hibernation, along with types of dens, please visit the Hibernation section on our website.
It’s rewarding for me to watch the interns learn about the bears different hibernation activities. They have seen the bears during normal activity and slowing down and eat less and less as hibernation gets closer. They rest more than they play and have been preparing a den or maybe they are preparing a couple of dens.
The new dens are very bear friendly. Lucky has modified at least three of them to his liking. Tasha and Lucky have both placed sticks and roots in a few of the dens. Holly has also been very busy but instead of accepting the man-made dens, she is doing her best to dig, time will tell. She has surprised us in the past. In a couple weeks we’ll give them bedding. Each den will get bedding and the bears can prepare them however they want.
Lucky played earlier this week with one of the logs near the rock den. There was no scent on it so he was just playing and hugging the log. He also ate grass. It was mostly clover but he ate some tall grasses too.
Holly was also in the pond area but also sat in the overflow pond. She had dirt on her back and ran to the area near the cub tree. I found her and Lucky just past the old bunker dens. They both walked with me as I checked to see where she might be digging.
Tasha spent the day in Den #1. At one point she was playing with her paws. Sometimes I think she is boxing the air. She still fits in her tub. She spends more time taking short naps, she even snores!
I took time this week taking pictures of each of the dens to help you identify with each one better. The dens include the rock den, low falls den and high falls den. The enclosure dens are dens 1-5. I hope this helps when you are guessing the bear’s hibernation spots. Perhaps in the future we will have a den naming contest.
Thank you for all your help by purchasing different bear foods and other things the bear center needs from our Amazon Wishlist.
Until next week,
Thank you for all you do,
Sr. Bear Keeper, Sharon Herrell