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Black Bears Birthing

1-27-14 black bear cubs IMG_0391Right now, partially or fully exposed to the sub-zero temperatures we’re experiencing, female Black Bears are giving birth to cubs that are blind, nearly hairless and weigh less than a pound. Although the mother’s metabolism is slightly reduced, her body temperature is relatively high, and she is very responsive to her cubs. The cubs do not hibernate – they retain full metabolism in order to maintain maximum growth, nursing frequently and for long periods of time. Their mother keeps them warm by hovering over them and breathing on them. Like human mothers, she sleeps when her cubs sleep, but awakens quickly and responds to their cries. (Photo taken during research; cub is roughly two months old.)

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9 responses

  1. kate reeves

    FABULOUS photo. What a gift for you and that you shared it with us. thank you.

    January 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm

  2. Bunny

    I heard that in California now, some of the bears are not hibernating. They have been seen on the snowless ski slopes. Is this because of the lack of snow or warm temperatures or something else?

    January 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    • Hi Bunny,
      I am not familiar with the situation for bears in California, but they were active here this year in the Northeast until very recently, due both to warm weather and an adequate supply of food (acorns, beechnuts, etc.). We have had years when they have been active for all 12 months.

      January 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm

  3. Paige Nangle

    Hi Inge,

    I thought that this site might interest you.  It is a daily post by a naturalist (I think from Vermont) and is always informative and includes a photo.  It has become one of my favorite daily experiences.  I think you can subscribe below where it indicates Manage Subscriptions.  Let me know what you think.

    Love you


    January 27, 2014 at 3:24 pm

  4. Beautiful photograph. Thank you for the information.

    January 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    • They are pretty irresistible, aren’t they?

      January 27, 2014 at 5:22 pm

  5. Heinrich Wurm

    Just heard Ben Kilham speak about the fact that bear cubs are extremely vulnerable to disturbance of their den and can only survive with the mother’s constant presence.

    January 27, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    • Yes, I was with Ben Kilham when I took this picture.

      January 27, 2014 at 9:44 pm

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