Time For Hibernation In Animal World

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Wildlife officials got a false alarm this morning about a bear under a Gatlinburg home but warn now is the time that such an event could happen.
Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb has more on why this could happen and what you should do to protect yourself.
Wildlife officials say bear are on a feeding frenzy right now as acorns fall to the ground and they prepare for hibernation.
But officials say if they can't find enough food they'll roam into places where they can and that means to many homes near the mountains.
Tennessee Wildlife Resource officers responded to a Gatlinburg chalet today on a call there was a bear under the home. While it turned out to be a false alarm, troubles with bears this time of the year is not uncommon.
David Brandenburg, with the TWRA says, "lots of bears. Not uncommon to have bears come out of the park and visit Gatlinburg."
Brandenburg say bear are on a feeding frenzy on acorns this time of year as they prepare for hibernation in late November.
"They'll eat 24 hours a day. Bears can gain five plus pounds a day when they get on a good food source."
Officials estimate bears will put on as much as 200 pounds in a months time or double their size.
"A bears fat reserves you know from his meat to the top of his hide sometimes is that thick."
If there isn't enough food in the woods, Brandenburg says they'll look for it.
Brandenburg also says, "When they're not abundant and scarce then they will range and they can go for miles. I mean they can go 20 to 30 miles until they hit a food source."
Officials say bears are quite smart and can get to food in ways you wouldn't think, and can do it the old fashioned way with garbage cans.
"Many of those containers up there, bears know how to figure out those latches and open them believe it or not and if they're not made strong enough they'll just rip the lid open."
But Brandenburg says people need to know bears are not just pretty little cuddly animals.
Brandenburg advises, "They ought to be viewed as a potentially dangerous animal that can kill people."
So what should you do if you see a bear?
First, Brandenburg says don't approach or feed bears and store your garbage where it's inaccessible to bears.
Brandenburg says if you're interested in taking pictures of them, just do so from a distance and defiantly do not approach them if they are feeding.


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