But sometimes the reality of how bears actually live compared to how we tend to personify them is quite different. What you’re watching here is a baby bear cub who has found his way into a mechanic’s shop at a Ford Dealership in Greenville, Illinois. For any who might worry, the cub was actually brought to the shop by someone who legally raises exotic animals on a nearby property.
What a cutie.
Bears are mammals, and bears hibernate. But their hibernation is quite different than most hibernating animals. Many scientists actually don’t even classify these long winter naps as hibernation for bears. True hibernation involves a drastic drop in body temperature, a deep sleep in which the animal wakes up occasionally, usually go to the bathroom or eat, and then back to sleep. Bears, however, hibernate differently. They do not wake up or even go to the bathroom or eat. But a mother bear does wake up to give birth to her cubs, usually in January or February.
Black Bear cubs, by the time hibernation ends, are full of excitement and energy. They can be playful and fun. Fighting, actually, is common as well and extremely important because it teaches the bears how to protect and defend themselves against intruders, and allows them to become stronger. When bears fight each other and it gets too rough, usually the mama bear will step in and correct their behavior by swatting them with her paw.
Cubs are expected to stick close by their mother so that they learn how to hunt for food. It’s the ultimate home-schooling and their survival depends on it. Cubs will stick by their mothers until they are between one-and-a-half and two-years-old. After that, the mother will encourage them to move on, out on their own, before she will mate again. Other bear siblings that have left their mothers sometimes stick together for up to another year as an added sense of security.