Bears grow guard hairs in winter that provide an extra layer of protection against the weather.  Some of our yearling bears are noticeably fluffier-looking due to the winter coats.  Something else you may notice is that often the winter coat is a lighter color. Look at these recent photos of some of the residents of the Wild Enclosures.

Here is a very fluffy-looking bear.  The winter coat also makes the bear seem larger.

bear with winter coat

A fluffy winter coat makes this bear look much bigger.

As is often the case, the face and front legs/paws retain the normal color, while the guard hairs that form the winter coat appear lighter.

Bear on tree

A fluffy bear climbs a tree in the Wild Enclosure.


Derby Bear is not quite as fluffy.

Bear on tree

Another two-toned bear climbing a tree.


Flora Bear shows off her warm winter coat.

The yearlings will keep the guard hairs until it becomes warm in the late spring and early summer.  At that time they will rub the long fur off by scratching themselves on trees, just like bears in cartoons.  As they do this, they leave their scent, so other bears will know they are in the area.