Reflections on Bear Hibernation and Behavior

| 12/24/2015 10:02:00 AM


Since moving to the mountains of Southern Colorado, we have encountered many black bears and because of those encounters, we have learned much about the species. I have posted several articles on bears in the past but I’m not sure enough can be said about these interesting animals.

I seem to be constantly looking up black bear characteristics or traits on the internet to be better informed. Perhaps one of the best sources of information and a site I access is called the North American Bear Center in Minnesota (NABC). There seems to be an abundance of misinformation about bears that circulates and every time there is a human encounter that goes bad, the bear is the one pictured in a bad light.

This time of year, our bears are in hibernation and being able to do that has always fascinated me. Now that we have them around frequently and I have been able to observe them over the years, I have come to really appreciate this often maligned animal. When it comes to parenting, I believe the human species could learn much from the black bear.

I have observed the mother bear with their cubs on many occasions and they are a no-nonsense parent to the young. When the cub does something wrong, the mother is not at all hesitant to make a firm correction. I also have witnessed the love and affection they demonstrate and how protective they are of their vulnerable young — all aimed to help the cub live on their own in the wild.

We once had a young cub (very small) wander through our property. It was wet and looked miserable but we knew enough not to go to its aid. A short while after it left, we saw the mother coming down the road with a determination I had never witnessed on a mother bear before. It would have been a huge mistake to get between her and her cub, which was probably several hundred yards away by then, as she was in no mood to be deterred from her objective.

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