Our reports on the cubs seem to have a common thread these days – the cubs are eating!  In our last post we stated that hyperphagia is still with us, and the truth of that statement is proven again in these photos of the cubs.  When a curator threw food over the fence, the cubs got to work right away, eating up everything that was offered.

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The three cubs hard at work, munching their food.

Apollo - Otto

Apollo and Otto Bear are finding good things to eat.

Rollo

A closeup of Rollo as he prepares to munch an acorn.

Rollo - eats

The ingestion of the acorn. Bears have prehensile lips to grasp a nut.

Three cubs

Three busy cubs getting fat.

As we said, there isn’t much variety in their activities these days.  It’s all about eating!  But we enjoy seeing them again and again, and hope that you do, too.

The cubs were back in full eating mode again.  Just when the curators think they have really slowed down and are ready to stop eating, the bears resume their voracious munching of the offered foods.  Example:  They made short work of the 24 pears that were thrown over the fence, and then set to work on the acorns, peanuts and almonds.  The curators now estimate the weights of the cubs to be in the 60-65 pound range!  It will be very interesting to see exactly how much each cub weighs on release day.

Rollo - Otto

Rollo and Otto sitting on the ground at the base of a tree.

Rollo - Otto

The two cubs on alert – they see Apollo.

Otto

Rollo heads uphill while Otto stays put.

Apollo - Rollo

Apollo and Rollo forage for nuts – acorns, peanuts and almonds.

Otto

Otto has found one of the pears.

Three cubs

All three of the cubs forage for fruit and nuts.

Three cubs

They gobble up the food, growing chubbier by the day.

Whereas humans think that being fat is a bad thing, for bears it is a very good thing.  They will live off their fat during the winter, when they do not eat.

 

 

Bears do not like wind.  It disrupts their two most important senses – smell and hearing.  When the wind blows the cubs, like their cousins in the wild, become nervous.  Every gust of wind causes them to be anxious about potential dangers.  Today’s photos show how they reveal their uncertainty and fear.  Trees are a cub’s best friend in any weather.

Apollo

Apollo clung to the trunk of a tree. 

Rollo

Rollo and Otto stayed close to the tree, but on the ground.

Otto

Otto Bear tried to decide if he should venture out to get a snack.

Otto - Rollo

Otto and Rollo hugged the tree for safety.

Rollo - Otto

It was obvious that the little bears were afraid of the wind and its noise.

The cubs did dash out to pick up a pear or apple, but immediately returned to the safety of their tree.  Soon, Apollo climbed down to join them.

 

The ABR cubs are becoming rounder and rounder.  It has been said they resemble furry bowling balls.  Their energy ebbs and flows – at times they are hardly moving and at other times they do some exploring of things in their enclosure.  Today we see them exploring the old capture pen that was left after Summitt Bear was released.  We also see that Otto and Rollo enter the Acclimation Pen and subsequently leave it.  You may recall that we reported that the curators are leaving the door open and putting some of their food inside, in hopes that they will become used to going in and out, and will be easier to capture when the time for release comes.

Apollo

Apollo – moving, but not in any hurry.

Apollo

Apollo checks out the old capture pen.

Three cubs

The three cubs by the old capture pen.

Apollo - Otto

Apollo and Otto Bear foraging.

Since bears eat so much food during this time of hyperphagia they must also drink copious amounts of water.  The Cubby Pool, refreshed each day, is a good source.

Rollo

Rollo Bear rests after having a drink.

Otto - Rollo

Otto and Rollo Bear by the Cubby Pool.

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Rollo and Otto Bear explore the Acclimation Pen, probably grabbing a snack.

Eat – drink – rest – repeat.  That is the daily schedule for the cubs at this time.  Not bad!

 

November is a month for bears to slow down.  Having eaten great quantities of food for the past couple of months, their metabolism begins to slow down in anticipation of their winter sleep that is just around the corner.  The ABR cubs are following the pattern.  They are still eating, but not at all as ravenously as just a few weeks ago, and they are spending more time resting in daybeds on the ground.  They aren’t climbing their favorite tree to nap.  Maybe climbing takes too much energy – we don’t know, but the photos today revolve around a daybed that they were using  when the curator first sighted them.

daybed

This is the daybed where the cubs were napping.

Rollo and Otto

Rollo has found a pear. Otto looks in the pool.

Otto - Rollo

Otto is not impressed. He turns away. Rollo is eating his pear.

Otto - Rollo

Otto finds another pear to eat.  Apollo is still in the daybed.

Rollo - Otto

Rollo and Otto eating.

Otto

Otto sees another pear.

Otto

Otto tastes it but then leaves it and moves away.

Apollo

Apollo moves just enough to get the pear that Otto left.

We can see that the cubs are slowing down.  Although they are still enjoying their food, they are much less focused on the act of eating.

Curator Janet reported that she observed the three bear cubs playing in a much slower  manner than usual.  She said they were lying on their backs with feet in the air, swatting lazily at each other.  Unfortunately we don’t have photos of this – it would be most interesting to see.  Instead, she got photos of the cubs at their favorite activity – eating.

Rollo - Otto

Otto is in front of Rollo. Both are busy munching acorns.

Rollo

Rollo settles down to crunch. We can almost hear the crunching sounds.

Apollo

Apollo comes out to join the foraging party.

It seems that the bears are getting bigger with each passing day.  They are certainly doing their part to prepare for winter.

ABR received a bountiful supply (165 pounds) of sawtooth acorns from the TN Division of Forestry’s State Nursery.  The curators were delighted, and so were the cubs, who started right in eating and turning the acorns into body fat.  It’s incredible to see how much weight the bears have gained in the past month or so – ever since hyperphagia began.  For proof look at these photos.

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The cubs are getting fatter and fatter – good for bears, though not for humans!

three cubs

Curator Coy calls them “eating machines.”

three cubs

As we’ve mentioned before, bears carry much of their weight in their bottoms.

Rollo - Apollo

Two round bottoms – Rollo and Apollo.

Otto - Rollo - Apollo

Apollo Bear is hidden by Otto’s back end.

a

Here are the acorns in trays in the Dry Storage building.

We can’t help but wonder how long it will take them to eat all of those acorns!  We hope they will last until their release.