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Do Bears Hibernate?

Entering the colder season, many animals would start to store up food in preparation for a cozy, long nap. As the temperatures drop, food would become more difficult to find and animals would need to find another way to survive the long winter. This is why some choose to hibernate. Hibernation is a term used to describe the animals when they enter a state that causes their body temperatures to drop and their metabolism to slow down, basically when the animals use as little energy as possible to survive the harsh winter.




So does hibernation only occur in the winter? The answer is no, hibernation can also occur in the summer and that would be called estivation. Like how the temperature gets too cold for some animals, other animals enter estivation when the temperature gets too high. Nature cues signal the animals to enter hibernation, such as decreases in food or when the temperature starts to drop. When the animal realizes that it is time to start their long nap, they need to start preparing for a habitat and food storage. Different animals settle in different places for their hibernation, some animals will live in dens whereas others in caves. Now with the location taken care of, they need to prepare a place for their food. Animals can either store non-perishable food or wake up in the winter to eat it. Many animals also live on their stored fat during the winter. 

  

So the question is, do bears hibernate? Nope, bears do not hibernate. Instead, they fall into a deep sleep called torpor. Torpor is short-term sleep, such as a couple of hours each day. Animals in hibernation do not wake up easily and their body temperature drops significantly. Bears, on the other hand, wake up easily in the winter and their body temperature only drops slightly. Bears do not hibernate due to their body size. It is more difficult for their huge body to drop rapidly in temperature compared to smaller animals. Therefore, they only go to torpor and not hibernation. 




CITATIONS:


Ed Grabianowski "How Hibernation Works" 25 March 2008.

HowStuffWorks.com. <https://animals.howstuffworks.com/animal-facts/hibernation.htm> 12 October 2020


Do bears actually hibernate? (2020, October 07). Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.scienceworld.ca/stories/do-bears-actually-hibernate/



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