In the Katmai region, most bears go to their den and begin hibernation in October and November .
In Springtime, Bears Emerge From Their Dens Male grizzlies come out of hibernation in mid to late March . Females with cubs emerge later, in April to early May. After an unseasonably warm winter , bears may come out of hibernation as early as January or February.
In the colder, northern parts of Alaska , bears hibernate about 7 months of the year. Bears in the warmer, coastal regions of the state hibernate for 2-5 months, with the longer hibernation time for bears raising newborn cubs. Bears do wake up, however, and move around inside the den.
When can you see bears in Alaska ? The Alaska cruise season begins in late April and continues through September. This coincides with the best time to view bears in Alaska – July through early September.
Bears give birth in February, during hibernation , and the offspring nurse and grow until the momma bear wakes up.
Rectal temperature drops only slightly, though, from 99-102 degrees F in the summer to 88-98 degrees F during hibernation . Bears do not usually die of starvation in dens, most deaths from starvation are before or after hibernation and involve primarily cubs and yearlings. Disease is uncommon.
Their body temperature drops. Their breathing and heart rates slow. Their body also starts to burn calories slower. These changes allow the bear to survive longer on its own body fat.
If you were to wake up a hibernating animal midwinter, you would be effectively killing it. It would use up so much energy warming itself up in order to awaken that it would have no chance of making it to spring even if it could re-enter hibernation .
Hibernation is a response to cold weather and reduced food availability. Humans don’t hibernate for two reasons. Firstly, our evolutionary ancestors were tropical animals with no history of hibernating : humans have only migrated into temperate and sub-arctic latitudes in the last hundred thousand years or so.
Fatal black bear attacks on humans are so rare — more so than any other species of bear — that they occur on average of once per year across North America, Garshelis said. In addition, about one black bear out of 1 million will attack a human in a predatory manner, Rogers said.
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During the Alaska winter , most bears drift off into hibernation and sleep the cold, dark months away. But not all of them. Winter Bears are those that wake up during the winter and venture outside, looking for food and (maybe?) just some winter excitement. In Alaska , many places remain unvisited and virtually unknown.
Some of the most incredible bear viewing in Alaska is near Anchorage. Iconic spots like Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park , Lake Clark National Park , Redoubt Bay and McNeil River are all a short float plane flight from the city, and many air services can get you there for a day of unrivaled access.