With the days getting quite short and the snow building up, Grinder and Coola, our two resident Grizzly Bears at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife have finally entered their long winter nap.
This will be the 16th hibernation period on Grouse Mountain for Grinder and Coola who arrived in 2001 as young orphaned cubs. Both bears had complete physical check-ups this year by our veterinarian team before hibernation. Both were in excellent shape!
Just before hibernation Grinder weighed in at 900 lbs and Coola at approximately 1050 lbs – both nice and plump and ready for a long sleep. The bear’s appetite had reduced in recent weeks and we tapered off their food supply just as the snow was building up. Then as of last week the bears ceased eating and spent most of the day inside their wooden sleeping den slumbering away.
This onset of snow, darkness and lack of food all triggered their hibernation instinct.
Despite being called hibernators, Grizzly Bears will carry out many activities such as stretching, standing, sitting, rolling over and even some grooming while in the den. This is thought to keep their muscles and bones strong and active so when they come out in the spring they will not have any issues.
We’ve seen these behaviors each year on our Grizzly Bear Hibernation Den camera – an infrared camera mounted inside Grinder and Coola’s den. It’s fascinating to follow along!
Thanks! And here’s to some good bear dreams this winter…
Bring on the Ski Season!