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Hungry bears eat 20,000 calories a day. Here’s what that looks like in human food

·2 min read

A Chipotle burrito can be pretty filling on its own — but it’s only a tiny snack of what a bear needs to survive before the winter.

If you also chowed down on two McDonald’s double cheeseburgers, a dozen doughnuts, an entire pizza, a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Jimmy John’s sub, you sill wouldn’t be meeting the calorie goal.

Bears are in hyperphagia, a time before hibernation when they need to eat 20,000 calories or more each day.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife shared a photo Monday of what that looks like in human food, and it might be more food than some people could eat over the course of a few days.

The photo shows a packed spread of french fries, at least five chocolate bars and many other fast-food favorites.

“For up to 20 hours per day, they’ll be following their noses for easy, calorie-packed meals,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said in August.

During the fall, bears eat food “nearly nonstop,” according to the National Park Service. The process is called hyperphagia.

Bears hoping to rack up 20,000 calories a day before winter. Where do they look?

Bears get more active during that time because they’re constantly on the hunt for food, the National Park Service said.

Some bears can gain more than 3 pounds a day before hibernating, Yellowstone National Park said.

They look everywhere for food during hyperphagia. They can dig through trash cans, eat off of bird feeders and break into homes or cars to find a meal, according to Colorado wildlife officials.

Bears’ noses are “100 times more sensitive” than humans, and they can smell food up to five miles away, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said on its website. They can also seek out trash that smells like food or scented products, such as air fresheners, wipes or perfume.

Conflicts between bears and people can often be traced back to bears trying to find easy food, wildlife officials said.

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