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Black bears, Grizzly bears and Brown bears do go into a deep sleep during the Hibernation is when animals “sleep” through the winter.
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Me too.

Do bears actually hibernate?

Well, maybe we should have been born as bears. Animals do this to survive the winter because the weather is cold and food is scarce. While many people think bears are hibernators, they actually participate in a similar, though not exact, practice. Instead of hibernating, bears fall into a deep sleep called torpor.

If you do everything right and you still run into one ...

The urea produced by their fat metabolism is broken down and the nitrogen is re-used by the bear to rebuild protein. Pregnant female bears can also wake up from torpor to give birth, then go back to sleep afterwards!

Bears sleep in dens that they make themselves, as well as in hollow trees, caves and dens built by other bears. While some bears build their dens months before hibernation season, others choose to excavate their dens at the last minute. This layer of bedding helps keep the bear warm during the cold winter.

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Glamping with grizzlies: What it's like to sleep next to wild bears

There is strong evolutionary pressure for bears to stay in their dens during winter, if there is little or no food available. But bears will leave their dens on occasion, particularly when their den gets flooded or is badly damaged. Weather does play a role. In the colder, northern parts of Alaska, bears hibernate about 7 months of the year.

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Bears in the warmer, coastal regions of the state hibernate for months, with the longer hibernation time for bears raising newborn cubs. Bears have developed unique adaptive strategies in order to survive for so long without food and water. They lower their body temperature degrees, and they break down fat stores for energy. Some protein is used as well, but bears largely conserve their muscle mass and thus do not become appreciably weaker during hibernation. Bears do wake up, however, and move around inside the den.

Do bears hibernate: Polar bear, black bear, grizzly bear sex and torpor.

Bears will go through a lot of posture changes where they wake periodically to shift around. It is thought this helps prevent pressure sores from developing.

Grizzly Bear from Finland will only sleep if his keeper goes to bed with him

Bears also shift positions to better conserve heat. If food is present a bear does not have to hibernate, unless it is pregnant or winter conditions are severe enough such as found in Alaska.


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The den is a safe environment for the cubs as they grow. Bear cubs are classified as altricial young rather than precocial, which means they need considerable parental care before they are able to leave the den.

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Not all bears hibernate, but in Alaska, most bears do, including the males. It is not uncommon for male polar bears and polar bears that are not pregnant or with young to remain active through periods of low food availability.


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  • Bears in zoos will not hibernate if food is available, though they will slow down and sleep more than usual. Some zoo bears are fed year round, and do not hibernate. Since they do not undergo a winter weight loss like wild bears, some zoo bears can get very overweight, which is very unhealthy.