Black bears are a common sight for much of Colorado. In fact, the state boasts an incredible population of an estimated 17-to-20,000 bears. Yet when one shows to ring your doorbell, however, it can still be quite the shock.
Over in Evergreen, Colorado, Todd Mitchem received a ping from his Ring doorbell cam he never expected. Right there on his front porch was a sizable black bear in the wee hours of the morning. And when we say sizable, we mean a very large bear, indeed.
At 3:16 AM Sunday morning, the black bear would wander straight up to the front door. He gives the structure a once over, sniffing it multiple times. He is, no doubt, in search of food. Many a’ black bear has broken into homes, cars, and other human structures so far in 2021. So Mitchem – or anyone else in a similar situation – has cause to be very nervous.
“So….errr….I mean…hello friend,” Mitchem says in the footage.
Bears know hibernation is coming. In fact, it’s all they’re thinking about. Their instincts are in overdrive as they must prepare to survive months-on-end without a single morsel of food. And with the first freeze possible soon in Colorado, black bears like this one are going into overdrive. There’s even a scientific name for this incredible phenomenon. But first, you gotta see this:
The footage comes courtesy of Mitchem’s local WAVY news station, and as you can see – it’s a doozy. Yet there’s a whole lot more at play here than it seems at first glance.
Black Bears Entering ‘Hyperphagia’ are in a Literal Feeding Frenzy
As autumn continues on, bears enter hyperphagia. This fancy word simply means that bears – like blacks and browns – are eating and drinking constantly (literally) in order to prepare for winter hibernation. Nothing else matters in this timespan but food, more food, and water to wash it down.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, this translates to a remarkable 20,000 calories a day for black bears. But those calories don’t appear out of thin air. The search for food can be grueling as Colorado’s 20,000-something bears contend over the same sources. And this is exactly what leads to home break-ins and close-encounters like Mitchum’s.
“Really, it’s a daily occurrence now: bears getting into vehicles that are unlocked, getting into houses that have their windows cracked,” wildlife officer Chase Rylands tells WAVY.
As of her speaking with the station, Rylands says four homes and eight cars had been broken into by black bears in the past week alone. This comes on top of at least five reported “invasion” attempts by the species.
“They’re looking to pack on 20,000 calories a day, so that’s equivalent to 40 Big Macs a day,” the wildlife officer cites. “So they’re going to be out there working hard, finding those sufficient calories.”
As ever in Bear Country, it is paramount to know your bear safety and take all possible scenarios into account. Because as much as we love our black bears, the species remains a large and very dangerous predator.