Animals at the extremes: Polar biology
Animals at the extremes: Polar biology

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Animals at the extremes: Polar biology

3.3 Bears

Brown or grizzly bears (Ursus arctos), and black bears (U. americanus) feed throughout the summer on grass, fruit, nuts, fish, small mammalian prey and carrion. In autumn, all brown and black bears fatten rapidly before entering caves or hollow trees where they become dormant for weeks or months. The terms ‘hibernation’ and ‘torpor’ are sometimes used to describe this state in bears. To avoid confusion with true hibernation, this phenomenon is here called ‘dormancy’. Much of the research on the metabolic basis of this physiological state has been carried out in the USA on the black bear, which occurs over most of USA and southern Canada and is smaller and easier to maintain in captivity than brown bears or polar bears.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus