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Do Bears Lay Eggs?

Bears have a unique reproductive cycle, often mating in the summer with young not arriving until months into hibernation. The scarce food and harsh conditions in the winter make it a time for bears to conserve energy. It’s also a period of safety, away from potential threats. But, how do bears reproduce? Do they lay eggs? Do they give birth to live young? Let’s find out!

Do bears lay eggs?

Bears do not lay eggs, they give birth to live young like almost all other mammals. There are a few exceptions of mammals that lay eggs, but bears aren’t one of them. Bear cubs are born live and usually within the first two months of hibernation.

A female black bear will have a litter of 2-4 cubs about every 2 years. The soon-to-be mother bear has a gestation period of just over 7 months. The gestation period for grizzly bears is very similar.

She usually gives birth in mid-winter and the cubs will follow her around and learn the ropes of beardom for about 2 years. After this they will be on their own and have to fend for themselves.

Like humans, bears take care of their young after giving birth, albeit not nearly as long. A mother bear will protect her cubs with her life and even become highly aggressive with anyone she thinks means them harm. That includes other bears and even humans.

Black bear newborns with human hands for comparison.

If a bear did lay eggs, how big would the eggs be?

This obviously just for fun, indulge me for a minute though.

By determining how big a newborn baby bear actually is, we can better guess how big the bear egg would need to be.

An average black bear cub weighs only 10.5 ounces and is only 9 inches long. Considering ostrich chicks can be as big as chickens when they are born and the eggs weigh up to 3 pounds, a bear egg could be significantly smaller than an ostrich egg.

Ostrich egg in the back compared to other eggs like goose eggs and a chicken egg in the front.

Here’s an awesome capture of a giant panda giving live birth:

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