When winter approaches, food sources dwindle for the black bear and they must alter their sleeping habits in order to make it through the winter. This extended sleep is called hibernation, and lasts for several months.
The change in the seasons triggers hormones within the mother bear that alert her when it is time to prepare for hibernation. A large area is needed in order for the mother bear to select a secure and safe place to create her den, because it must be able to sustain them safely for many months with no interruptions or possible threats.
Hibernation causes all sorts of changes in bears physiology, one of the most jarring of which, is that their heartbeats slow down from 90 beats per minute, all the way down to eight beats per minute. They go through an entire seven months without eating, drinking, or even going to the bathroom.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for what happens before and during the hibernation process.
To learn more, check out the video below!
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