As we mentioned recently, hyperphagia is the scientific name for the eating frenzy that hits bears at this time of year.  They eat more food and for more hours of the day, in order to pack on the pounds and be ready for their winter hibernation when they do not eat or drink. Adult wild bears may eat as many as 20 hours a day, and consume upwards of 20,000 calories each day!  Our cubs don’t eat that much, but they have definitely been more focused on eating lately, and the curators have responded by increasing the amount of food provided in each Wild Enclosure.  Today we see the cubs foraging.  Their job is to put on weight so they can be released and survive on their own, and they take this job very seriously.

First, here is Ellis Bear, preparing to forage.

Ellis Bear

Ellis Bear is ready to eat.

In the next photo we see several black blobs – each one is a cub foraging in the grass.

Cubs foraging

Cubs foraging in the grass.

And it looks much the same in the other Wild Enclosure.

Cubs foraging

More cubs foraging in the grass.

Even cubs that don’t usually associate with each other are more tolerant because of their need to eat.  There is plenty of food for all the cubs.

Hungry cubs

More food is provided for extra-hungry cubs.

As we see in the next two photos, there are lots of peanuts scattered about.  Peanuts are a cub favorite and have fat and protein that bear cubs need.

Peanuts on ground

Plenty of peanuts scattered about.

More peanuts

More peanuts!

This is such an interesting time in the lives of our cubs.  They don’t have to be taught – they just naturally know that it’s time to be eating as much as they can.