Although the ground is barely bare, be bear aware

Field Notes

Warming temperatures and clear skies have started to thaw the valley floor. Even though snow will remain at high altitudes for a while longer, grizzly and black bears have emerged from their winter dens. These bears have spent the last few months in torpor, not hibernation- a common misconception!

Torpor, defined as a state of physical or mental inactivity, differs from hibernation in one surprising way- bears can- and do- wake up! For example, female bears will awaken from torpor to give birth to one to three cubs during the winter months.

In torpor, the metabolic and breathing rates decrease...


Reader Comments(0)