With winter just around the corner, everyone is starting to prepare. We humans have to make sure we have enough food and supplies to last us through the cold months. But what about other animals? Do they have to eat more in the winter to survive? As the weather gets colder and the days shorter, animals must make some changes in order to survive the winter. Birds migrate, squirrels hoard nuts, and bears… well, bears eat a lot. In fact, bears can eat up to 90 pounds of food per day in the fall in preparation for winter! So what do bears eat in the winter? Let’s take a closer look.
The diet of a Bear during Winter.
Bears are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. In the spring and summer, they mostly eat berries, nuts, and insects. As fall approaches and they begin to prepare for hibernation, their diet changes somewhat. They begin to eat more fatty foods like salmon and other fish, as well as small mammals. This helps them put on weight so that they can last the winter without food. They eat a lot of fish during this time of year as they try to build up their energy reserves for winter. Once winter hits, though, their diet changes considerably.
In the winter months, bears rely on two things to survive: stored fat and whatever plants or animals they can find to eat. As fall progresses and winter approaches, bears enter what is known as hyperphagia—a period of increased hunger where they try to consume as many calories as possible to build up their fat reserves.
Plants become increasingly scarce in the winter as most fruits and berries are gone and leaves have fallen from trees. However, there are still some plants that bears can eat such as mosses, lichens, twigs, and buds. These may not seem like much but they provide valuable nutrients that help keep bears alive through the winter months.
Similarly, animals are also harder to come by in the winter but there are still some options available such as rabbits, rodents, carrion (dead animals), and small birds. These animals may not be easy to catch but they provide much-needed calories for bears trying to make it through the winter season.
Bears are interesting creatures because of how they adapt to survive in different seasons. In the spring and summer when food is plentiful, bears eat just about anything they can find from berries to bugs. Then in the fall when they enter into hyperphagia bear gorge themselves with food so that they can put on enough weight to get them through their winter hibernation where they barely eat anything at all surviving off of their body fat stores instead. So next time you’re wondering what do bear do in the winter now you know! They mainly just sleep but require a lot of energy stored up beforehand from an extreme case of overeating in preparation for wintertime.