Contrary to common belief, bears do not hibernate. Bear Adaptations. He weighed 902 lbs. When we visit a park with bears, we are entering their home. In other areas where heavy mast foods such as acorns, beech nuts, hickory nuts become available in the late fall, black bears will delay hibernation until November or December and hibernation is less in duration. Black Bears Black bears den in lower elevations and therefore wake earlier, typically in late February.Sometimes, if there is a warm winter and food is available, the bears might emerge out of their dens to eat. The duration of hibernation greatly depends on location. and measured 7.9 ft. long. Although there is risk of starvation, most deaths in this manner happen to cubs or younger bears. After an unseasonably warm winter, bears may come out of hibernation as early as January or February. Black bears have been known to den in a human’s basement without them ever knowing they had a bear for a roommate over the winter months! They need to put on weight to prepare for winter and hibernation. During this period they will eat whatever they can find,  They follow this by a fall transition period where they will voluntarily start eating less but continue drinking water to clean their systems in preparation for hibernation. Often when we think of a black bear hibernating, we usually imagine them being in a cave, and if there is one available they will certainly use one. Black bears are not "true hibernators" and often wake up at various times throughout the winter. The most common are nests, excavations, and tree roots. Winter is characterized by low temperatures and to ensure that they are not affected by these conditions, bears remain inactive. Black Bear (Ursus americanus) only bear species in Nova Scotia; Average Size: 45 - 200 Kg (100 - 440 lbs.) Researchers say that snow will actually accumulate on a black bear's back in an open den when the temperatures stay below approximately -7 degrees Celsius (19 Fahrenheit). The pads on a bear’s paws will peel off during hibernation to make room for growth and new tissue. During their slumber, bears’ bodies drop in body temperature, pulse rate, and respiration. A look at winter hybernation isn't complete without examining what the bears do in order to prepare for the winter. “They can loose between 150- 200 lbs while hibernating.” Why do bears hibernate? Bears make their dens in hollow trees or logs, under the root mass of a tree, in rock crevices, or even high in a tree in warmer climates. Because of this practice, and the loss of their forest habitat, black bears were rare in the Commonwealth in the 1800s and early 1900s. However in the harsh New Brunswick climate, all black bears will hibernate and it coincides with food becoming scarce and the onset of cold weather. Among the 340 animals at the zoo, there are only two sets of sleeping beauties that will hibernate this winter. Hibernation is an adaptation to a seasonal shortage of food, low environmental temperatures, and snow cover on the ground (Craighead and Craighead 1972; Tietje and Ruff 1980). Our two boys (Mak and Oso) are Grizzly bears, and our girls (Claire and Russel) are Alaskan Coastal brown bears. Biologists tell us they release a special hormone into their system called “leptin” to suppress their appetite. Although they remain somewhat alert, and occasionally they may get up in mild weather to move about for a short time, most of their day is spent in this sleep state. Our Traditional Predator. Studies into hibernation show that they are able to reduce their use of energy and live on mainly fat stores through the winter through a number of changes. Wild females usually weigh between 90 and 300 pounds with the heaviest known female weighing 520 pounds in northeastern Minnesota on August 30, 1993. A mother with young does not sleep as deeply as other bears. Cubs remain with mother for a full year. They become lethargic and rest up to 22 hours per day generally near a water source. If they have access to unlimited food and water, they have been recorded to ingest as much as 20,000 calories per day and drink several gallons of water! Body temperature drops from 38°C to 31–34°C, respiration slows and the metabolic rate declines. During this time they enter hyperphagia, which literally means excessive eating. Evidence is mounting that hormone-like substances in hibernating bears may … Grizz, loving the idea of eating a ton and then just sleeping to his heart’s content, goes for it with reckless abandon. Bears are able to learn about food types and locations, and reapply that knowledge over time and space … Black bears in Minnesota use several different types of dens. … Bears make their dens in hollow trees or logs, under the root mass of a tree, in rock … According to biologists, black bears actually go through 5 stages of activity in a year: hibernation, walking hibernation, normal activity, hyperphagia, and fall transition. For those of us that spend a lot of time in the wilderness in New Brunswick, it is rare to see a black bear just walking in the woods. Short answer: yes. Frequently in western and southern ranges, individual bears may have coats that are blond, cinnamon, light or dark brown, or variations and mixtures of these colours. Bears are, therefore, not true hibernators. When people defined hibernation simply in terms of temperature reduction, bears were not considered hibernators. So if a cub is orphaned they know how to create a den so if cub. 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