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As winter draws closer, with impending hibernation, the cubs are responding as their bodies tell them to. Still eating and eating, but also getting lethargic. This is part of the lead up to their “Big Sleep.” Heather, the Yearling, has become extremely hard to find in the pictures taken by the camera in her enclosure.

There she is, in her ground nest!

She likes to sleep tucked away in a pile of branches. She is good at hiding!

She has been bulking up and slowing down.

She still wants to know what is out there to eat, though!

Here is Heather’s ground nest. This is much like other bear “dens” in our Southern Appalachians. Opportunistic bears will utilize whatever is handy to make their den!

The cubs next door seem to like to sleep in a pile, which is undeniably warm with all those furry bodies together.

Sometimes it takes them quite a while to get up.

It’s a slow and somewhat involved process.

A few (lame) attempts at wrestling as they come around.

Perhaps a bit of yoga, like this Downward Bear pose.

Another example of a black bear den in the Southern Appalachians. Bears also utilize culverts, crawl spaces, hollow trees – whatever is handy.

Some of the cubs slept in these areas of their enclosure. They don’t sleep together in one pile, like those in Enclosure #1.

The girls in WE #4 couldn’t be found until they were awake and foraging. They probably had ground nests out of range of the camera.

Nettles is easy to find. She sits on her bed.

Time for a bedtime snack!

Why not bring the snack right into bed!? That’s better!

Time to sleep, after filling her tummy. Nettles has really grown!

The releases of the bears will be determined by the wildlife agencies and officers responsible for them, but we suspect that it won’t be terribly long until we start to see some of our little bears go home. Stay tuned!