to Sybil's Den. This site is meant for
information purposes on raising
pet exotics animals based on my experience.
There are care sheets for black bears,
foxes, raccoons, emus, farm animals and
domestic animals. Also please
find a very informative message board with a
lot of great members.
For some of the species of animals I have or
had information on, You will find their
AS A CUB: Benny is a black bear that was born in captivity in
January 2002. Benny weighed about 10 pounds when we bought him.
He was very calm and easy to care for compared to Sybil. Benny
came from excellent breeders.
When Benny was pulled from his mother the breeders bottle fed
and handled him three weeks prior to the auction.
Sybil came from a
breeder where the breeder pulled the cubs the same day or day before
the auction. This makes a world of difference in bottle feeding
them as a young cub and raising them.
When we got Benny, he had a lot of light brown to blonde fur. As he
got older, his fur begin to turn all black, like most common black bears are.
Benny was very easy to bottle feed. (unlike Sybil) He was very
patient in between his bottles.
There were times, Benny could even hold his own bottle for awhile.
When bottle breaking time come, he was very easy. (again,
Prior to bottle breaking, I begin feeding Benny fruits.
INTRODUCTORY WITH SYBIL:
I knew I had to do a introductory with them. At that time
Sybil was a year old.
Obviously, much larger than Benny. I didn't know how Sybil would
a tiny cub. I started the introductory by letting them see
each other, but, not in any contact. I was happy to see how Sybil
accepted him. However, I still would not let Benny near Sybil.
(better to be safe than sorry). About a week or so later, I put
Benny on the ground where Sybil was. She was still fine with
him, and seemed to have liked him. However, Benny was afraid
of Sybil. As Benny grew a little more, his fear seemed to diminish.
By the time Benny grew even more, maybe
about 40lbs(can't remember exactly) he finally felt comfortable with
Sybil. They begin to play. However,
I did not put Benny in the Sybil's pen until I was positive they
were fine together and Benny was bigger. I was more
comfortable supervising for awhile.
Overall, Benny is a friendly
black bear. He loves attention and loves to eat. Even though Sybil
and Benny are friendly, they still could have wild animal instincts.
It is best to be very cautious when in the pen with them.
Benny has never showed any type of aggression. His size is
Benny likes to be petted and loves attention
and loves to hand fed. Benny is very content no matter what.
He is happy in his enclosure.
Even though Benny seems to be very polite (especially for a bear) I
do not let anyone have close contact with him.
BENNY'S FOOD PREFERENCE:
Benny loves to eat, sometimes too much.
His favorite snacks are milk bones, marrow bone treats, raw eggs (he
eats shell and all).
He gets a little of it once a day, that is their bedtime snack.
As a main diet, he gets a mixture of dry dog food, lettuce,
He or Sybil will not eat dog food without a mixture.
Then in conjunction, he eats watermelon, corn on the cob, grapes,
lettuce, mostly fruits and veggies.
Some foods have to be alternated. Benny and Sybil seem to like
They also get fish when available. They love fish.
BENNY'S FUR: Benny's coat changes during seasons.However, Benny's coat don't make as much a dramatic
change as Sybil's coat does.
In themid spring, his
fur begins to shed a little, but, he still has a beautiful coat.
By early summer, his coat sheds more. By summer, his color changes
more to a brown highlight. The fur texture seems to remain
almost the same all year. However, his fur is shorter during the
summer months. Benny's fur is not as coarse as Sybil's fur is
in the summer months.
In the early fall, his coat will begin a transition. His fur
starts to grow and most of the brown highlights are gone by then.
By late fall and especially early winter his fur makes a complete
change to a deep black with blue highlights and very shiny.
BENNY IN HIBERNATION:
When Benny was a year old, he did hibernate with Sybil. I felt
bad for Benny, because at that time, he
didn't seem to want to hibernate as much as Sybil did.
Even at that age, Benny was such a patient and easy going bear cub.
Every time I checked on them in their den, Benny was awake, just
sitting there next to Sybil. I gave Benny a bunch of toys,
that seemed to make him happy.
There are times when Benny and Sybil would come out of their den
during the winter. They would play in the snow for awhile.
If the weather was really cold, they stayed in their den.
Benny adjusted to his second year of hibernation very well. He
started making the nest. The nest was so big, they both are
completely covered up. Benny is now in charge of
making the nest. All I have to do is put about 3-4 bales
of straw in their den, and Benny takes it from there.
Their den is a two story. Their preference is on the second floor
for hibernation. Prior to hibernation, Benny makes a giant nest for
the both of them fit. All I have to do is, bring in a couple
bales of straw, and Benny does his work with it. Their top den
has steps that lead to their enclosure.
In summer months, they use the downstairs to sleep or sometimes nap
(depending on how hot it is outside)
The downstairs is much cooler for them. They also have a giant
fan to help keep them cooler.
BENNY AND SYBIL'S BOND: Benny and Sybil are very bonded. They sleep together, play together
and are very happy black bears. They never have to worry about food
and safety. I honestly believe they both are very happy. Of course
once in a while they get into little spats. They don't last long
though, and forgive each other quickly.
I have never seen Benny take food away from Sybil. Benny
is actually a pretty polite bear.
Wild black bears are generally solitary animals. Sybil
and Benny seem to enjoy each others company.
SOME BLACK BEAR INFORMATION:
bears are very strong animals and can unintentionally hurt us.
This is another reason why it is not recommended to rough house with
bear cubs. Some people will do this and not realize that when
the cub grows up, they expect this.
Black bears are definitely NOT for everyone. If you are
considering a bear or any exotic, it is very important that you do
very extensive research prior to getting any exotic.
Black bears CANNOT be raised like a dog. Bears and other
exotic animals need special care and a lot of understanding.
Black bears are expensive to keep. They require a very large
pen with running water. Bears love water.
They also require a lot of activity. Bears can become bored
very easy. Keeping bears or any animal in a small enclosure is
asking for problems.
NEVER, let any friends or family have close contact with bears. I am
trying very hard to help everyone understand
a bears behavior and what they can be capable of. Sadly, there
are people that will take a bears behavior for granted. This
problem only contributes to bans for all exotic animals nationwide.
One problem is, there are a lot of people out there, that feel that
all exotic animals belong in the wild, and not in private homes.
But, if these people realized what many of these animals have to
endure in the wild, maybe they would think differently. Not
all owners are negligent. Everyone seems to hear the bad
and never the good from the responsible owners.
I am not saying that everyone should own an exotic animal.
Only people that have a great love for animals,
and really understand exotic animals behavior, have the proper
facility's and time to spend with them.
If you don't have much experience with other animals, I don't
recommend a black bear.
Many states have banned black bears. With that being
said, please take a lot of thought about owning black
If you buy a black bear or any exotic that is not legal
in your state, and your DNR/Game commission finds out,
the animal/s will be confiscated and killed. Not to
mention a fine to the owners. Also, taking any
animal from the wild in most states is illegal. If
caught, the animal/s will be killed. It
only takes one person to find out you own an illegal
animal to report you. Also, owning an illegal
animal is extremely hard or almost impossible to find a
vet to treat the animal.