Grinder and Coola emerge from 20th Hibernation
Posted by Devin Manky April 29, 2021
Today marks the end of the longest hibernation period yet at Grouse Mountain for our two resident Grizzly Bears - Grinder and Coola. They went into their den and sleeping chamber on November 10th, 2020 and emerged today on April 29th, 2021. This is a period of 170 days and beats the previous record of 153 days set in 2017. Bears in the wild will hibernation anywhere from a few weeks in moderate climates to up to six months in extreme conditions. Grinder and Coola have averaged four months per season over the years with some hibernation periods, like this one, being an exception for length due to heavy snow loads.
Grinder and Coola were extremely happy to dig their way out of the remaining snow in front of their den door and access their hibernation habitat which surrounds their den. Grinder, as per usual, emerged first to explore. Grinder is the bolder of the two bears and is always first to explore a new situation. Coola watched from behind and once Grinder was out Coola quickly followed. After eating a bit of food both bears had a good play session in the snow which included some wrestling, some digging of snow caves and some rolling around in the snow to clean off their coats.
After not eating or drinking for five months you would think that Grinder and Coola would be starving. This isn't actually the case as a bears stomach will shrink as their metabolism feeds off their stored body fats. Upon emerging in the spring bears will eat a small diet of moist greens to help flush out their digestive tracks and get their stomachs working again. Grinder and Coola are fed romaine lettuce for the first week and then also have carrots introduced to their diet. This helps reboot their digestive systems and prepares them for more calorie rich foods in the near future.
WAYS TO FOLLOW THE BEARS
With current travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic we can only host local guests from our health region in person. If you are from outside of the Vancouver area we encourage you to follow with Grinder and Coola on our bear webcams. You can now view their outdoor camera showing the front of the bear den. If you are an educator we also offer online education programs which brings a live presentation with our wildlife manager right into your virtual classroom.