Bears, other carnivores, as vegetarians

This video from Alaska says about itself:

2 Yearling Grizzly Bears with mother eating berries

I don’t think you call a bear that is as old as these cubs anymore. They look like at least yearlings. This was mid August of 2009 in Denali.

From eNature Blog in the USA:

Autumn’s Bounty Can Turn Some Carnivores Into Carb-loving Vegans!

Posted on Sunday, October 02, 2016 by eNature

What would you expect a Grizzly Bear to eat when fattening up for winter? Caribou? Salmon?

How about a nice fruit salad?

Yes, some of our most celebrated carnivores become vegetarians in the fall.

Even the largest terrestrial predator, the Grizzly Bear, turns into a berry specialist at this time of year. It feeds on Salmonberries, crowberries, elderberries, and numerous other species of berries.

In fact, one type of manzanita is called Bearberry because of its importance in the fall diet of bears.

Black Bears, which tend to be more herbivorous than Grizzlies, also load up on berries before the winter, and in areas where oak trees grow, these bears consume vast quantities of acorns, too. Not to mention apples, grapes and other fruit they may encounter in farms and gardens.

Even the Polar Bear, the most predatory of all the bears, feeds on berries when they’re available.

And It’s More Than Bears Who Go Vegan

Coyotes and foxes follow a similar pattern, dining on a broad range of fruits during the fall. The superb climbing ability of the Common Gray Fox offers it access to berries and other fruits growing in places inaccessible to coyotes and bears. Wolves, too, will eat berries in the fall, though these seldom constitute a significant portion of their diet.

At first glance, it seems odd that these large “meat eaters” would consume fruits at a time when their need for stored fats and proteins is paramount. Research, however, reveals that the carbohydrates found in fruits are easily converted into fats when eaten in large quantities.

What are your local animals doing to prepared for winter? Have you seen any seemingly unusual behavior or obvious preparation taking place?

We always enjoy your stories!

Bees, bears, honey in Japan

This video says about itself:

Honey-trapping Bears – Wild Japan – BBC

20 July 2016

This beekeeper has found a humane way of preventing bears from stealing honey, and with the help of local conservationists, relocate the bears to safer areas.

Black bear family in the USA, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

Black Bear Mother And Cubs

1 June 2016

The precious Black Bear family visits the deck about once a week as they patrol their large territory of probably several square miles. As long as one doesn’t leave out high protein food like suet they will spend a few minutes checking out a few leftover bird seeds and then move on without any fuss or trouble.

Orphaned baby bears saved in Romania

This video from Romania says about itself:

26 February 2016

The Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni set out to rescue bears suffering cruelty in the entertainment industry – but just occasionally, they’re called upon to act for wild bears too. When rangers reported two tiny abandoned cubs found in a forest near Brasov, our partners leapt into action, ensuring they had the best possible chance of pulling through.

From Wildlife Extra on this:

Tiny baby bears rescued from forest in Romania

Head of UK Campaigns at World Animal Protection, Alyx Elliott, said: ‘Forest Rangers had found a bear den with the cubs which seemed to have been abandoned. They monitored the den for a few days and when there was no sign of the mother bear returning they knew they needed urgent care and decided to bring them to the AMP sanctuary. It is sadly probable that the mother bear had been shot and killed.

In the wild, mother bears can nurse their cubs for up to two years. Without her, these two babies will require special support and diligent monitoring if they are to survive. Luckily they’re now in the right place, which is why World Animal Protection has been funding the sanctuary for many years.

Many of the rescued bears at the Romanian sanctuary have been freed from zoos or other captive environments and they simply can’t be released into the wild. But, it is hoped that these beautiful cubs can one day return to their natural habitat.’

Hibernating brown bears and bacteria, new study

This video says about itself:

Bears’ gut microbes help stave off ill effects of the munchies

8 February 2016

If you’ve ever dreamed of eating as much as you want with no consequences, you might envy the brown bear. Researchers have found that their gut microbiota changes drastically throughout the year, helping them avoid obesity and save energy in winter.

The bugs don’t prevent bears from getting chubby, however. Before going into winter hibernation, brown bears stuff themselves with all the food they can find, rapidly gaining body fat to last them through their long slumber – but they suffer none of the health problems that obesity normally entails as a result. An international team of scientists analyzed fecal samples from 16 wild bears to understand why the dramatic seasonal nutrition changes do not harm their health, an article published in Cell Reports says. The team found that the gut microbiotia in bears changes throughout the year.

“During winter hibernation, the concentration of several specific molecules in the bear’s blood increase, a process that we believe reflects changes in the gut microbiota. When summer is well underway, the omnivorous bear eats varied diet, which increase microbial diversity,” senior researcher Fredrik Bäckhed from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden said.

The team revealed that “summer” bacteria are believed to be responsible for weight gain, while “winter” or “hibernation” bacteria help bears to conserve energy through insulin resistance.

“Studies have shown that the brown bear is insulin sensitive during the summer, while it develops insulin resistance during the winter months, in order to reduce energy consumption in the body and save energy for the brain,” says the press release on the research.In order to understand the mechanism better the scientists tested the bearsgut bacteria on germ-free mice. The mice who received “summer” bacteria gained weight faster than those injected with “winter” bacteria.

The mice that increased their capacity to store fat due to “summer” bacteria, however, remained “metabolically healthy” without suffering from problems associated with obesity.

“Especially interesting was the notion that the mice became fatter without developing insulin resistance, similar to the bears from where the microbiota was obtained,” Bäckhed said.

The scientific team says that it is too early to talk about the practical utility of the discovery, pointing to the need for further studies.

“The study is classic basic research and more studies are needed to arrive at any practical applications. But the bear study provides new knowledge on how gut microbiota affects our metabolism, a finding that may help us to develop bacteria based treatments in the future,” Bäckhed said.

From Cell Reports:

The Gut Microbiota Modulates Energy Metabolism in the Hibernating Brown Bear Ursus arctos

February 4, 2016


•Bear microbiota composition differs seasonally between hibernation and active phase
•Blood metabolites differ seasonally in the brown bear
•The bear gut microbiota promote energy storage during summer


Hibernation is an adaptation that helps many animals to conserve energy during food shortage in winter. Brown bears double their fat depots during summer and use these stored lipids during hibernation. Although bears seasonally become obese, they remain metabolically healthy. We analyzed the microbiota of free-ranging brown bears during their active phase and hibernation. Compared to the active phase, hibernation microbiota had reduced diversity, reduced levels of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, and increased levels of Bacteroidetes.

Several metabolites involved in lipid metabolism, including triglycerides, cholesterol, and bile acids, were also affected by hibernation. Transplantation of the bear microbiota from summer and winter to germ-free mice transferred some of the seasonal metabolic features and demonstrated that the summer microbiota promoted adiposity without impairing glucose tolerance, suggesting that seasonal variation in the microbiota may contribute to host energy metabolism in the hibernating brown bear.