Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Life of the Bear

Spring: April to June

Food: Grasses, forbs and other plants.

Bears are coming out of their dens. Cubs are just 10 pounds and still nursing. Their mothers begin to teach them about finding natural sources of food. Time to forage for food in lush meadows.

Summer: June to August

Food: Currants, raspberries, chokecherries and manzanita berries.

Spring: April to June

Food — Grasses, forbs and other plants.

Bears are coming out of their dens. Cubs are just 10 pounds and still nursing. Their mothers begin to teach them about finding natural sources of food. Time to forage for food in lush meadows.

Summer: June to August

Food — Currants, raspberries, chokecherries and manzanita berries.

Bears are crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), napping in the shade or hanging out in berry patches during the day. You may not see any bears, but they are around. They are actually quite shy and very quiet.

Fall: September to November

Food — Elderberry, acorns and insects.

Bears will travel to higher elevations in search of elderberries or use their claws to rip apart logs to eat the insects inside. Acorns from oak trees are an important source of food.  

To survive winter, bears must build up their fat reserves during the fall months. Bears consume up to 20,000 calories a day and will seek out high calorie foods.

Winter: December to March

Food — Little natural food is available.

To conserve energy, most bears hibernate through winter. Bears may wake up and leave the den in search of food. Proper food storage is still important during these months!  

Cubs born late January/early February weigh only 10—16 oz. Bears can lose half of their body weight during hibernation. In Yosemite Valley, many bears hibernate in the talus slopes along the cliff walls.