Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Fleeting Wonders: Bears Are Quitting Hibernation Early

Last year’s lean summer means they’re waking up hungry.

A black bear rolls around in his favorite food, spring grass.

A black bear rolls around in his favorite food, spring grass. (Photo: Ken Thomas/Public Domain)

Jolted out of hibernation early, bears around the world are seeing early March for the first time.

Black bear hibernation usually lasts through late March or even into April, but residents of British Columbia have already reported 130 bear sightings this year, reports CBC News Daybreak South. Meanwhile, according to Digital Journal, grizzlies at the Helsinki Zoo and black bears at the Wildlife Center of Virginia have also emerged from their dens, weeks earlier than expected.

This year’s warm winter could be one cause, though Canadian bear experts say last summer is a more likely culprit. “The bears went to bed a bit hungrier last fall than normal because of that long, hot, dry summer we had,” wildlife coordinator Frank Ritcey told Daybreak South. Bears wake up when they run out of fat, so if they have a lean summer, they’re up earlier the next spring, raring for breakfast.

Their favorite springtime food–grass–is in short supply at this time of year, so Ritcey recommends everyone be extra careful locking up their trash. Unless, of course, you want company for brunch.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.