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Black Bears Gorging

10-28-16-corn-203Black bears are omnivores as well as opportunists.  They will eat almost anything that they can find, but the majority of their diet consists of grasses, roots, berries, nuts and insects (particularly the larvae).  As the days cool, and the time for hibernation nears, black bears enter a stage called “hyperphagia,” which literally means “excessive eating.”  They forage practically non-stop — up to 20 hours a day, building up fat reserves for hibernation, increasing their body weight up to 100% in some extreme cases.  Their daily food intake goes from 8,000 to 15-20,000 calories. Occasionally their eyes are bigger than their stomachs, and all that they’ve eaten comes back up.  Pictured is the aftermath of a Black Bear’s orgy in a cornfield.

If you  share a bear’s territory, be forewarned that they have excellent memories, especially for food sources.  Be sure not to leave food scraps or pet food outside and either delay feeding birds until bears are hibernating (late December would be safe most years) or take your feeders in at night.

NOTE:  Orders for 2017 Naturally Curious calendars must be received by October 31.

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15 responses

  1. Kyle Jones

    Hyperphagia. That’s me.If it has a name, it’s okay.

    On Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 6:58 AM, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “Black bears are omnivores as well as opportunists. > They will eat almost anything that they can find, but the majority of their > diet consists of grasses, roots, berries, nuts and insects (particularly > the larvae). As the days cool, and the time for hiber” >

    October 25, 2016 at 7:09 am

  2. On the Chimney Pond Trail in Baxter Park in September, we passed about half a dozen bright orange piles — mountain ash berries disgorged.

    October 25, 2016 at 7:42 am

    • Wish I could have seen (and photographed) them!

      October 25, 2016 at 8:04 am

  3. Penny March

    Not safe for feeders in daytime either, as I have had a bear around (just “checking us out”) during the day. Casella trash is in the garage, so the drivers have to open the door to pick it up.

    October 25, 2016 at 8:17 am

  4. Alice Pratt

    Gobblegooks. I wonder if they come back and re-eat that 😝

    October 25, 2016 at 8:35 am

  5. Josh

    What differences are there to distinguish between a scat and vomit?

    October 25, 2016 at 8:58 am

    • A great question, Josh. In this case, I don’t know. I know a bear biologist who has observed it coming out the other end but I can’t believe it would be this pristine.

      October 25, 2016 at 12:22 pm

  6. Wow, that is pretty disgusting yet interesting at the same time. I bet some crows might enjoy that pile. Like Alice’s comment above, I wonder if a bear (or the same bear) would return to eat it later?

    October 25, 2016 at 9:42 am

    • Great question. I have no idea, but certainly something will consume it!

      October 25, 2016 at 12:21 pm

  7. Elizabeth McCann

    How do I order the calendar??

    October 25, 2016 at 10:08 am

  8. Alice Pratt

    I wonder, also, if bears eat a lot of fermented berries & apples, that that is the reason they have a problem with their food “coming back up?” 😝🙄😶😬 = “tipsy bears”

    October 25, 2016 at 4:35 pm

  9. Sara DeMont

    Today ‘s blog sure will make us wait to feed the birds!

    October 25, 2016 at 7:16 pm

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