North American Black Bears sleep through winter in a deep restful state known as torpor. During summer, females weigh 120 to 180 pounds. To prepare for winter she forages for high fat foods. Nuts, berries, carrion, insects, and small mammals are consumed. She will increase her body weight and, then loose up to 30 percent over winter. Bulky body weight protects mother bear during her long nap. In January, she births two or three cubs. Aboriginal legends, received as oral tradition, describe a treat she offers her cubs as they begin to nurse.
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Richard Wilberg is a coach, musician, photographer, and former business leader who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.