Who Knew?

First Glimpse at Hibernating Bears

Scientists at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks have observed hibernating bears for the first time by building “hibernaculums,” which are big boxes for the bears to sleep in. "We anticipated they might just tear the place up or go on strike or something," said scientist Brian Barnes. "But they actually showed very natural behavior of getting ready to hibernate. They curl up, they go to sleep.” Researchers were surprised to learn that bears’ body temperatures hardly drop at all, despite the fact that their metabolisms grind to a halt. "Bears don't eat, drink, urinate or defecate for six or seven months," said Barnes. "They're a closed system. All they need is air, and they can do just fine. They're a metabolic marvel.”