Grouse Mountain’s famous resident grizzly bears Grinder and Coola are busy preparing for their 20th winter dormancy – bulking up and making their hibernation habitat extra comfy.
Devin Manky, Grouse Mountain Wildlife Manager, said the furry duo had already moved into their hibernation habitat and had spent the past two months in a hyperphagia stage.
“They have been extremely motivated to find as much food as they can and bulk up,” he wrote in an update to the Grouse Grind blog on Oct. 28.
At a recent weigh-in, Coola was a whopping 1,045 pounds and Grinder was 885 lb., which Manky said is close to their final winter weights.
He said staff had begun providing the bears with lots of Pacific silver fir branches so they can line their sleeping chamber for their beds over the wintertime.
“Once we see them spending most of their days inside the den, we'll close the outer door and the boys will be officially in hibernation for the 2020-2021 season,” he wrote.
Manky pointed out that Grinder and Coola don’t go into true hibernation, but "winter dormancy."
“Unlike a true hibernator such as a bat or small ground squirrel, the bears' heart rate and body temperatures do not drop to the same extremes, and every day we see movements that can range from a simple rolling over in their sleep to a full on leave-the-den sleepwalk,” he wrote in a previous blog post.
“It is thought that these movements during the winter dormancy help the bears keep their bones and muscles strong, so they don't need to go through any grizzly 'physiotherapy' in the springtime when they wake up.”
Grouse Mountain will send out a notice when the bears officially turn in for the season.
In light of the bears heading into their winter slumber soon, we thought we’d look back at our favourite photos of the giant furry friends this season.