If you are a confirmed ursaphile you know about hyperphagia. If not, let us explain. Hyperphagia is an eating frenzy that hits all bears around this time of year. They eat more and more, increasing their weight to be ready for hibernation. This condition is observed in wild bears, young or old, and our ABR cubs are beginning to show the effects now. It is an instinctive behavior and doesn’t have to be taught/learned. It just happens. Today we have some photos that show some of the cubs in eating mode. They are spending more time eating and are eating greater quanties than just a few weeks ago. Their bodies are telling them to add weight so they will be able to last through the winter. Believe it or not, an adult bear may eat 20,000 or more calories a day during hyperphagia, and may spend 20 hours out of 24 eating! Our cubs won’t eat that much, but the curators are noticing more focused eating behavior. They have increased the amount of food thrown over the fencing into the Wild Enclosures, but are careful to scatter it in different areas and at different times of the day, so that the cubs don’t expect a “food delivery” to be at the same time and place each day.
Peanuts are a popular item on the menu, and the first photo shows Marvin Bear studying a peanut prior to eating it.
Marvin has found peanuts that he will eat.
In the same Wild Enclosure with Marvin, Noli is seen foraging for food.
Noli is eating more these days.
Another resident of this Wild Enclosure is Carter. He still forages alone, as in this photo.
Carter is finding and eating food to make him gain weight.
Another cub in their enclosure is Sola. In this photo, she takes a break from the busy foraging.
Sola climbs a tree to take a break.
In the other Wild Enclosure the cubs are just as busy eating. Here we see Ellis Bear looking for food.
Ellis Bear on the trail of something tasty.
Peanut Bear is looking for his namesake, peanuts.
Peanut Bear is hunting for peanuts.
From now until the cubs are released back into the wild, we will see them become ever more focused on eating to gain that all-important weight that will sustain them through the winter.