Does a bear sh*t in it’s sleep?

As my fame spreads and my life becomes more hectic, a reader has written to try and grab my attention…

Dear Guru
Animals in hibernation – do they get up to go to the loo or not? If not, how is that possible?

PS: you haven’t written in a while had to ask something :)

Dear Pilgrim

Hibernation, like Sex, is something that everyone does differently. If you put a squirrel and a Black bear in the same bed, not only would there be a fight for the Duvet, they’d keep each other awake all winter. And, as in sex, if the bear ends up on top, things just gets messy.

Hibernating bear and humanHibernation is evolution at it’s finest. Rather than tackle winter head on, like an ignorant human being, hibernating animals say, ‘screw that’, or would if they could talk, and sleep through winter instead. If humans could do this not only could we could save a fortune in insulation and clothing, we’d never have had to invent ‘Winter Sports’.

To answer your question, smaller mammals, such as squirrels and shrews do go to loo during hibernation. They enter an extreme state of relaxation, dropping their body temperature to as low as -2°C. However, they can’t survive this way for too long, and so, like an elderly man, or a horny teenage boy, find themselves getting up several times a night. Every few days, small mammels come out of hibernation to eat, excrete and watch TV, and any naturalist who stumbles into their burrow tends to find the rodents have fallen asleep whilst watching re-runs of Miss Marple.

Bears, however, do things differently. Before they go into hibernation they swallow pine cones, hair and bucket loads of stool hardeners, all of which work together to form a makeshift butt Plug. With this cork in place the bear curls up to sleep, slowing it’s metabolism and dropping its body temperature by around 10 ° C. This allows it to sleep for up to 7 months without needing to defecate, urinate, or fight over the bedsheets. Often, it spends all winter in one position, living off it’s own fat and muscle until springtime

To summarize; at least in the wintertime, bears do not Sh*t in the woods. By eating nothing and corking their colon, they spend the season in a constant state of constipation.

You can just imagine the queue for the toilets come spring.

Hope this helps

Marcus

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