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Long hibernation period at Arbesbach



Some of the inhabitants of the Austrian bear sanctuary Arbesbach started preparing for their winter rest as early as late October this season! When the snow began to fall, there was no trace of the bears to be found - they had entered their hibernation.

Vinzenz, Liese, Tom and Jerry were the first to retreat to their caves. Like every year Liese and Vinzenz, as well as Tom and Jerry, are sharing a den. Brumca is resting in a cave far from the other bears – and Lara, like most of the others, moved into an artificial den. During the past few weeks temperatures have risen, melting the snow, and Liese has started to leave her winter abode regularly and roam her territory. She also began to search for food again and was subsequently supported by the FOUR PAWS animal keepers on site. As the winter gets colder again, she will return to her den.

Metabolic differences are natural

In nature, bears hibernate because of the lack of available food during the Winter season. An animal with such a high nutritious demand, feasting mainly on plant materials, would stand only a small chance of survival in such meagre times. Therefore bears build up their fat reserves before hibernation in order to maintain an inactive state for the entire winter. However, the seasonal resting phase can be flexible. The metabolic adjustment differs from animal to animal - bears may hibernate for the whole winter, other less, and some not at all!