Grinder and Coola, our two Grizzlies, have been enjoying some late summer warm temperatures and sunshine recently. They love their ponds and are often found lounging lazily in them with their heads on the rocks, watching the world go by. Despite the warm temperatures the bears are sensing that the days are growing shorter and that it is time to begin bulking up for their winter dormancy. This time of year they enter a physiological state known as hyperphagia,
which is really just a fancy term for pigging out. They will eat an increasing amount of food as they very quickly put on body weight for the cold weather ahead.
We've upped their daily food intake to match their increased consumption and they are now getting around 30 pounds of food each per day. This will increase shortly to around 50 pounds a day. The bears will be expected to put on an additional 20-30% of their body weight to prepare for winter. This is anywhere from 150 to 300 pounds of extra bulk!
Once we start to get much colder weather and the first snowfalls happen, we will taper off their food and then cut it off completely and this will trigger their hibernation instinct and they will spend most of their days inside their sleeping chamber. Then hibernation will truly begin for the 2012/2013 season.
Stay tuned for further updates on their preparations.