Bear Food is Everywhere. Bears are Scarce - UPDATE July 28, 2018

It’s the peak of bear food in the woods. It’s even a great hazelnut year, meaning cubs will abound in the wild in 2019. HollyHolly

Sharon tells the story of the Bear Center woods and bears with pictures and words.

Bear News – July 29, 2018

Ted eating raspberriesTed eating raspberriesSoon our bears will be entering hyperphagia but the food in the forest couldn't get much better. Hyperphagia is a period of excessive eating and drinking to fatten for hibernation. Learn more about the 5 Stages of Activity and Hibernation on

Many of our visitors ask what are the bears eating in the enclosure besides rye grass and white clover. The answer is, many different fruits and seeds are available during the months of July and August. This has been a very good year for wild bear foods and we are seeing that here too. Many of the same fruits the bears in the wild are eating, our bears have access to in the 2.5-acre enclosure. These berries, nuts, and seeds keep our bears very busy.

Lucky eating sarsaparillaLucky eating sarsaparilla SarsasparillaSarsasparilla RaspberriesRaspberries

Lucky was tasting red-osier dogwood. It’s the first time I've really seen him tasting them. Holly loves eating them and they have successfully given her diarrhea and sometimes when she eats them green, she vomits. It isn’t anything that we are concerned about. Holly currently sits by Ted's bear gate in hopes that we might leave it open for her to go in and clean up his dogwood and raspberries.

Tasha enjoyed the beaked-hazels nuts growing where the bear trail goes into the mound area. A video was taken of Ted pulling beaked hazelnut branches to him and mouthing them. Ted was also seen eating raspberries in the viewing area.

Tasha sniffing hazelnutsTasha sniffing hazelnuts Beaked hazelnutsBeaked hazelnuts DogwoodDogwood

The enclosure is abundant with wild bear foods as is the forest surrounding the enclosure. Some of the foods not shown that the bears are eating: woodland strawberries (Fragania spp.), Pincherry (Prunus pensylvanica), and Aspen catkins (Populus tremuloides).

Mountain Maple SeedMountain Maple Seed BunchberryBunchberry Black chokecherryBlack chokecherry

Ted was eating raspberries, Mountain maple seeds (Acer spicatum), Red-oiser dogwood (Cornus spp.) Beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), Sarsasparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), Serviceberry or Juneberry (Amelanchier spp.)

I hope you enjoy the pictures; the fruits are adding extra weight to our bears, which is a good thing for them and hibernation.

Thank you for all you do.

Sharon Herrell
Senior Bear Keeper
North American Bear Center

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center