What do the yearlings and cubs so on hot days? We’ve had a lot of hot days recently, and we humans tend to spend a lot of time in air-conditioned homes, stores, etc. The bears can’t do this – so they have their own ways of keeping cool, or at least comfortable.

Taking a nap in the shade is one good choice.

The cubs in Wild Enclosure #1 spend a lot of time napping on the platform in the heat.

After napping, Beignet Bear makes her way down to the ground to forage.
Beignet and the Triplets forage together. Note the deconstructed culvert den. They have been busily working to remove the planks that covered it.
Despite the heat, two of the Triplets engage in a wrestling match.

We shift our focus to the cubs in Wild Enclosure #2.

The six cubs forage and roam the grounds in their enclosure.

What about the yearlings? They spend a significant amount of time hidden away in the thick underbrush, but sometimes the Cubby Pool beckons to them.

Iris Bear takes a dip to cool off. It must feel good!
Sweetie and Daffodil Bear take a turn a bit later.

And so we learn how our little bears cool off on these hot days. Maybe they (and we) will enjoy a cool down in the weather before too long.

It’s been hot lately (in the 90s) but the fur-coated bears seem to be oblivious to the heat at night. They choose to sleep near their enclosure mates. The yearlings do leave space between their bodies, in case there is a stray breeze or breath of air.

A very relaxed yearling on the platform.
There is space between the yearlings, allowing for air to flow between them.

Cubs, on the other hand, prefer to snuggle together, even in the heat. If they were still with their mothers and siblings, the chances are they would be snuggling together.

In Wild Enclosure #2 – a hot pile of cubs.
The paw of one cub touches the ear of another. It doesn’t seem to bother the one who is touched.
How much closer can they snuggle?
A dreaming cub – look at the round belly!
A cubby pillow for another cub.

In Wild Enclosure #1, Beignet and the Bearys occupy their platform. One of the cubs maintains space by sleeping on the other side of the tree.

The four cubs are lined up on the platform.
A sleeping Beary boy.

Sometimes it’s easier to capture photos of the bears at night, thanks to the enclosure cams. During the heat of the day, the underbrush or treetops are the chosen spots to hang out, making it difficult if not impossible to see them.

A kind friend of ABR donated some honeycomb for the thirteen bears in residence. Curator Tom fashioned unique personalized containers for each of the bears.

Curator Tom cut logs – enough for each of the cubs and yearlings to have one.
He hollowed out a space in each log.
Tom filled the spaces with honeycomb, making them ready to throw over the fences to the bears.
The cubs in Wild Enclosure #2 heard the “thunk” of the logs hitting the ground.
Curious, they went to see what the sound had meant.
Dandelion was delighted with her log, and ate every bit of the honeycomb.
After eating her honeycomb, Dandelion needed a drink.
In Wild Enclosure #1, Beignet Bear found a log for herself.
She wasted no time gobbling up the honeycomb.
The yearlings used good manners, even sharing one of the honey logs.

The curators and (especially) the bears were grateful for the donation of honeycomb. Thanks to stories like “Winnie the Pooh” we know that bears like honey, but that’s not the real reason that wild bears tear into bee hives. The major attraction is the bees eggs and larvae, which are an important source of protein for bears.

Our last post was about the yearlings in the morning, so in today’s post we’ll see how the cubs start their day.

Beignet Bear and one of the Triplets slept on the platform together.
It must have been too hot for snuggling. Beignet moved away.
One of the Triplets sleeps behind a curtain of leaves.
The six cubs in Wild Enclosure #2 are down from sleeping places and ready to start the day.
They played for a while in a big, furry pile.
All of them were foraging later in the morning. One doesn’t appear in this photo.
Bentley Bear found an apple.
Boudreaux Bear murdalizes a sapling that was missed yesterday.

The photos show us how chubby and rotund the cubs are becoming. As they eat, the pounds and chubbiness increase. Good bears!

As we have mentioned before, the curators have been somewhat surprised to see how sociable the three yearlings are. It has always been assumed that because yearlings are dispersed from their families, they are strictly loners. These yearling girls have shown a different reality.

The three girls slept together on their platform. They seem to do that often.
Iris Bear was the first one to go down to forage.

Daffodil woke up. She stepped over Sweetie, who stayed put.
Daffodil tried to get Sweetie to “rise and shine.”

Sweetie roused herself, for a minute …….
….but then she went back to sleep.
Daffodil tried again to get Sweetie up.
The two yearlings finally descend from the platform.

The last one starts down.

It’s good to see the three yearlings enjoying each other’s company and getting along so well. We know that when they return to the wild they will live solitary lives, but while they are with us they can be friends.

Although the ABR curators provide many kinds of delicious and healthy food for the cubs, our cubs also like to find their own treats. We’ve seen them eating insects and several other items they find in their Wild Enclosures. And, although it’s generally accepted that bears only eat grasses and leaves in spring when they are new and tender, we are seeing the cubs eat leaves even now, in midsummer. We guess they need a little more variety in their diet.

Beignet Bear stripped some leaves from a tree to eat. The salad course, perhaps?
Hucklebeary leans back and appears to be laughing uproariously in this photo.
When they are on the platform, the cubs can reach leaves on nearby trees.
It looks like Bentley is giving good advice to Bluebelle Bear. Perhaps he is cheering her on.

We’re glad that our cubs are able to supplement their diet with extras they find on their own. Not that they need more food, but doing so gives them practice in foraging for when they return to the wild.

When we are able to post a video of our cubs and yearling bears, we are happy to do so. Seeing them in motion really gives a feeling for what is going on and how they behave, what they do, and how they interact with each other and with their surroundings. Click here to enjoy this latest video of our furry residents!