Brown bear Karu or pruunkaru Ursus arctos
Despite the so to say autumny weather brown bears have already started giving birth in our forests in December, and it can last until February. Up to sixty mother bears will see an increase in their family.
Female bears that give birth for the first time most frequently have one or two cubs, older ones two or three, very rarely even more. The female bear will not have the next addition to the family until in a couple of years, sometimes even after three years.
The newly born bear cubs are blind, the ear openings are covered with a membrane and the body covered with sparse ”toy bear fur”. With a birth weight of about half a kilo the bears-to-be are quite helpless to start with but develop rapidly with the valuable and nutritious milk from the mother bear – the fat content of bear milk is 30%!
The ears of bear cubs open at a couple of weeks old but they begin to see only at an age of a month. During three months the milk teeth develop and by that time spring may be so far advanced that the refreshed bear mother judges it proper to leave the birth den. The winter den is abandoned in April, at that time the bear cubs weigh up to five kilos and must be able to follow the bear mother.
The female bears that are pregnant go into winter hibernation independent of weather at the so to say ”right time” because the food reserves that were so carefully gathered in autumn must not be wasted on purposeless straying.
Bears, probably male, have been seen moving around at Christmas and earlier – the bedding may have turned wet or other causes can have been disturbing?
The weather will turn colder in next week, surely they are looking for a new and peaceful sleeping place.