Hibernation is when animals (such as bears) sleep through a long hard winter to save energy for the summer. They do this because in the winter there isnt much food for a bear. So, they have to gather up enough food to last them the winter. Whether they gather and store it, or whether they eat it either way gets the job done! Black bears have to be eating almost all the time in the Fall. They can gain as much as 30 pounds, in one week! A bear finds the spot they are going to hibernate in about 1 or 2 months before the actual hibernation starts. Hibernation normally lasts 4-7 months starting at around November. Sometimes instead of sleeping straight through the winter, they find a content place to rest a while and keep moving throughout the winter, looking for other spots to rest a while. Unlike most hibernating animals, the black bears body temperature only drops 5-9 degrees Farenheight during the hibernation process. When the animals come out of their dens, the male is the first to come out. Then the female and her cubs come out. After the hibernation process, the female is the one to lose the most weight. Male and teen bears lose 15% and 20% of their weight while the female bears lose 40% of their weight.
Black bears have a very unique way of communicating. Sometimes, if two large male bears decide to fight over a fish, they use mainly grunts and growls to try to scare the other bear into giving up the fight. There are two different names for bears that are fighting. The bear that attacks the other bear is called the dominant bear and the bear that is defending is the subordinate bear. The bear is dominant if he or she is the one to approach the other. If a young male bear approaches a female bear with cubs, the female bear breaks into a charge with the young male because she thinks the male wants to attack her cubs. The young male lowers his head, puts his ears back, and charges the female. This tells the female that the male doesnt want to hurt her or her young. When the female stops charging, the male stops and stands. He cant try to leave because he knows that if he moves two suddenly, the female could just jump on him and attack him. When the female leaves, the male can leave safely. Black bears can also be very curious. If you are camping in bear country and on a walk in the woods, a bear might just come up to your tent while you are gone, hit it with a blunt paw, and start pawing and biting the tent! After a while when it gets tired of the tent, (or breaks it!) it will go on exploring your campsite, biting one thing, pawing another, or maybe even tossing something about for a while. If a black bear found a small puddle of oil somewhere, it would take a mud bath in the oil by rolling about for a minute or two!