Sunday, November 29, 2020
   
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Reproduction - Mating and Pregnancy

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The bears’ mating season lasts from May until July. A male can sense a sow in heat from a long distance and can follow her around for a whole week, chasing all competing males away in the process, to make sure than he and no one else will be the father. Scuffles between ‘amorous’ males are won by brains rather than brawn; it is not the larger and stronger but the more agile and cunning male that usually gains the upper hand.

Preceded by a lot of sniffing and frolicking, copulation itself lasts between a few seconds and three minutes. During the time (about a week) spent together, the couple copulate up to 16 times a day, thus stimulating ovulation and the fertilization of the egg. A zygote starts developing only in November, when it becomes an embryo. Thus, the actual pregnancy only lasts for about 60 days.

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