Captive Bears and Hibernation
I am a preschool teacher. Do bears that are kept in zoos
or in captivity hybernate as if they were in the wild? We were
questioning if hybernating is instinct or not.
Hybernation is an instinct that many animals will continue to practice even
in captivity if in cold enough situations. When bears hybernate however,
they do not just sleep for months and then come out. They do sleep and rest,
however, often they are awake foraging or drinking. Their hybernation is
more like a large decrease in activity. In captivity, bears will decrease
their activity in cold weather. You can observe this by going to a zoo on a
cold day in the winter, then going to the zoo on a warm day in the summer.
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Update: June 2012