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On the Wild Side: Strange news from the World of Wildlife!

The Bear Facts

Some subjects, it's said, are not fit for polite company. Amongst naturalists, though, few such rules exist. Even the bowel movements of certain animals are discussed in detail. A favorite anecdote concerns the burly Black Bear.

Now that fall is here, Black Bears throughout North America are busy fattening themselves for winter. Soon they'll be looking for shelter in caves, hollow trees, under the roots of fallen trees . . . anywhere they can find adequate protection. But rather than bingeing continually until that moment, each bear will stop eating a few days prior to entering its winter den. A Black Bear's diet then turns to roughage: leaves, pine needles, even small amounts of its own hair. These delicacies pass through the bear's digestive tract and form an anal plug that can measure up to 10 or 12 inches long. The plug remains firmly in place throughout the winter until the bear emerges in the spring and expels it.

Click here to learn more about the Black Bear.