How Does a Black Bear Prepare for Hibernation?

A black bear prepares to hibernate by creating a nest, eating more than usual, gaining weight and drinking almost three times as much as usual. This species of bears prepare for hibernation in different ways and to different extents depending on the area of the country they are in.

Unlike other bear varieties, the black bear can be found in a large variety of environments. They are found throughout the United States from the freezing Yukon territories down to the sweltering bayous of the South. They prepare for different hibernation periods depending on their geographic location because some places may have a two-month long winter while other places may have a seven-month long winter.

One thing that all black bears do to prepare for hibernation, no matter where they are located, is build nests. They will work together with their cubs, if they have any, to gather twigs, leaves and branches to build their nest. This nest will often be in a cave, a hollow or somewhere else where there is protection.

Before hibernating, bears need to gain weight to help themselves stay warm through the entire winter. They do this by eating berries, which are rich in carbohydrates. Some bears gain as much as 30 pounds per week when they are preparing to hibernate.

Bears need to get rid of waste before they hibernate so they are not interrupted with the urge to eliminate while they are sleeping. They will begin taking in around three times as much water a few weeks before they hibernate and will slow their water intake as the hibernation time approaches.