Hibernation in Lake Tahoe

It’s no secret that bears in the Lake Tahoe area aren’t generally afraid of humans. In fact, its common to see bears roaming the streets during all hours of the day looking for tasty trash overflowing from public and private trash cans alike.

But did you know that not all of our bears here in Lake Tahoe hibernate? Hibernation is a voluntary state an animal, in this case, a bear, enters to conserve energy when food is scarce during the winter months. Normally, bears will wake up and go back to sleep during their winter hibernation, but sometimes, they stay awake and it’s game on. In nature, food during the winter months is scarce, but here in Tahoe, bears are able to supplement the lack of their usual food sources with our human garbage.

Because of the year-round garbage supply, these bears have no reason to hibernate! It is our duty to impact nature as little as possible and the trash we leave around on both public and private properties contributes to our local bears staying awake year round instead of following their usual need to hibernate.

Sources: Tahoe Daily Tribune, National Forest