Bear Necessities

Having written about Jeopardy, Organ transplants, and Sci-Fi flicks, it’s only natural I would eventually end up writing about hibernation, more specifically, hibernating bears! Let’s be honest, we all love bears! Well, except for Stephen Colbert who admittedly hates them and consequently has dozens of videos reporting on their dangers.

The only times Colbert gets a good night’s sleep is when the bears are hibernating, which happens to be for 5 to 7 months a year. That’s certainly no nap!  During this period of sleep, [black] bears do not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate. Their metabolism drops to 25% of the regular basal rate and their heart beats go from the regular 55 to 9 beats per minute when hibernating. Interestingly however, their body temperature drops only slightly. Biologists from Stanford University reports that a more significant change in body temperature is observed in other animals sparking the question how the bears are able to avoid that. The research into this phenomenon “may one day help doctors treat stroke patients, who could benefit from a lowered brain temperature in the hours after a stroke.” Being able to induce this hibernation-type behavior in humans may have many benefits.

Below is a link to a clip about hibernation by a very attractive feature of yahoo.com known as “Who Knew?” This video summarizes hibernation in a fun concise manner.

Written by: Jaymin Patel

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