COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) — It’s a rumble-and-tumble kind of day for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s two grizzly bears Emmett and Digger.
CMZoo’s two 17-year-old grizzly boys can be seen play-wrestling in the snow. In this particular wrestling match, Emmett is standing up while Digger is on his back.
According to CMZoo, Emmett and Digger are in torpor, a much lighter form of hibernation where bears take long naps, eat less food and generally move slower. When in a state of torpor, Emmett and Digger will experience decreased breathing, heart rates, lower metabolic rates and a slightly reduced temperature.
During the winter months, the two grizzlies still like to play-wrestle, splash in their pond and train in the winter months, but in a less energetic way. Although the bears are intermittently active, they are able to sleep more than 100 days at a time without passing waste, eating, or drinking said CMZoo.
According to Courtney Rogers, the lead keeper in Rocky Mountain Wild, Emmett and Digger will expect higher rewards for interacting with keepers. What may seem like a tasty snack during the summer isn’t worth the same effort to the bears in the winter.
“I’ve seen Emmett and Digger square up over a single blueberry in the summer. In the winter, we can toss them a whole fresh trout and if it doesn’t land in their mouths, they don’t want it right away,” said Rogers.
To maintain a good relationship with the grizzlies, keepers will give Emmett and Digger extra-special food rewards like salmon. Keepers will also offer other meats and fruits for participating in husbandry training and shifting.