Bears need baths too, but not to wash dirt from between their hairy toes. Instead, taking a dip in a cool pool of water helps the large, furry mammals reduce their body temperature.
Turns out, a cool dip in a pool of mountain spring water is the perfect solution during hot summer days. As the climate warms, temperature-controlling plunges may be especially important for females with cubs and those that are pregnant. That’s because when pregnant or lactating, female bears generate more heat.
The work involved a couple of unusual scenarios. One part of the study required shaving a 2-inch square clump of hair off the grizzlies to measure the amount and density of their fur.
The animals also walked on treadmills to measure their oxygen consumption.
Here’s how you get a bear to walk on a treadmill. Charles Robbins, a professor of Biological Sciences at Washington State University, trains them to stay on the treadmill by constantly feeding them honey water.
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