For Bears, Fall Means Fattening Up

Autumn brings change to the natural world. Months’ worth of fruitful vegetation, some newly grown earlier that year, will wither from reduced solar energy from our turn away from the sun. For the largest Carnivoran (an animal order) in the state, winter is a harsh time of year best dealt with by sleeping!

To black bears, the season’s really not worth being awake for. They kick their foraging activity into high gear during fall months, doing all they can to fatten themselves up for a long period of dormancy when winter finally comes. Black bears aren’t true hibernators, but instead go through a state called torporwhere their body temperatures and metabolism don’t drop as low as those of hibernating animals.

Since now’s about the time that bears will be looking everywhere for food, including in or around our homes, the last thing we want to do is give them a reason to wander into our back yards. It’s a good idea to pick up dead fruit on the ground, as this omnivore’s sense of smell is vastly superior to even the best dog’s. Make sure to keep all food inside your home: bird seed, pet food, and anything in your car. Dispose of and seal your trash properly, taking out food refuse the morning of your collection day to avoid attracting any animals and using bear bins if applicable in your area.

Be alert on trails if you’re hiking, and keep your distance from any bears you see. Make your presence in the area be known by talking loudly and odds are they’ll stay away on their own. We know we wouldn’t like to be bothered if we were hungry and preparing for a long nap; let’s help each other keep Nevada’s bears tucked away in the wild in peace!

Aaron Huelsman

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