by Linda, Everett Public Library staff
When bears hibernate, they can awaken quickly and are able to react efficiently when they do?
I found this information on page 49 in the book Grizzly Bears by Jack Ballard. A hibernating bear’s metabolic rate drops significantly. The heart rate lowers from its normal 45 beats a minute to about 15 beats a minute, while breathing goes from 7 breaths a minute to one breath every 45 seconds. A bear will also not eat, drink, defecate or urinate during the hibernation period.
At Grouse Mountain in Canada, there is a wildlife refuge where they study two bears they rescued: Grinder and Coola. The bears wake up and move around about 20 minutes or so almost every day during hibernation according to the rangers. You can go to their website to see pictures and a blog of the bears and other animals there.
Before hibernating, they eat as much as they can to build up a thick fat supply. The bears eat berries and salmon among other things. This is crucial to the female’s ability to become pregnant with the stored “blastocyst”, as it will not implant and develop if there isn’t enough body fat. The mother bears give birth during the hibernation period. The babies are the smallest in relation to their mother’s size. On average, newborn black bear cubs weigh 10.5 ounces. If a newborn human were that small in comparison, it would weigh between 3.6 and 6 ounces! It won’t be until the bear’s 2nd summer before they are big enough to go off on their own. Read more in the book Bears: A Year in the Life by Matthias Breiter. You will see many outstanding photos of black, grizzly and polar bears.
There are 8 kinds of bears in the world, and Bears by Charles Fergus is very informative about them and tells some of the similarities and differences between the species.
For some interesting stories about bears, you should read In Bear Country by Jake MacDonald. He saw his first bear in a zoo as a young boy, and saw his first wild bear a few years later on a fishing trip. That trip sparked his lifelong curiosity about bears and motivated him to study bears and write this collection of stories.
The “teddy bear” got its name when President Theodore Roosevelt, who was an avid big game hunter, refused to shoot a small bear. Stuffed bears were just making their way to toy stores when this incident happened and the name stuck. Of course, you can’t bring up teddy bears without reading the book, and singing the song, Teddy Bear’s Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy!
And finally, if you want to be like a bear and fish for salmon, Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon II by Les Johnson &Bruce Ferguson will give you tips and pointers…. Just watch out for bears while you are out there!