Each fall, when the weather cools and the days grow shorter, grizzly bears enter a state known as hyperphagia. During this period, the bears bulk up as much as possible for the coming winter. Grinder and Coola are no exception to this and have begun to prepare for a cold, snowy winter.
Over the last couple weeks we have seen an increase in the bears appetite coupled with enhanced laziness. To help them get ready for winter we, in essence, free feed them a diet that consists of higher levels of protein than they receive throughout most of the year. Much of this protein comes from fish, which are added to their diet to represent the salmon runs they would be finding in the wild.
Each day Grinder and Coola spend the morning time eating as much as they can find until they are full. After this big feed they then bed down and, when not eating, can be found snoozing on the hillsides. This increased lethargy is also an adaptation to preserve their energy and not waste the precious calories they just gained through their food.
Once the snow arrives, we diminish the feeding levels to represent a dwindling food supply (once again replicating what would be happening in the wild) and this triggers an appetite suppression and finally, hibernation.