A Bear of a Week

You know about the “extra” bear we had to deal with Saturday. We’re still processing and reviewing the situation. I’ll be meeting with all the Keepers together tomorrow, as thus far we have only talked about it in smaller groups, many times.

This is a cast that we took of his paw print that we found in the mud around our perimeter fence- where he climbed onto Museum property. (sorry I don’t have a photo of the bear- I was busy doing other things.

What else happened Saturday is that at 5:30, the keepers found Gus, our youngest bear, lame on his right front foot. Back in December he was lame on his back left foot, which was much better the next day. We gave him some anti-inflammatory and pain meds and locked him in the house overnight to reduce his activity level.

Sunday morning he was putting weight on his foot again, but we kept him in the house an extra day to be sure, and keeper Katy let him out of the house Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday she noticed a small patch on the top of his foot, about the size of a dime, that was missing fur. I went down and got a good look at it, and to my surprise, his foot was a bit swollen and there was one puncture wound. Together, Katy and I were able to keep Gus still. (Katy has been working on operant conditioning with the bears and was able to get Gus to stand up and “stay”. We offered him syrup to keep him steady for awhile). We were able to move around the fur and see a second puncture wound.

Yup- it is likely a copperhead bit him! He seems to be doing fine, but he is still on his pain meds, as well as some antibiotics to prevent infection.

He’s doing well, but there’s always something, and when it includes a bear, it’s always interesting.

3 responses to A Bear of a Week

  1. Leslie says:

    Poor Gus! Although I guess it's likely the copperhead met some bear-sized retaliation. I'm glad he's ok.

  2. Erin sent me a note about this blog. I love it! I will share it with my boys when I get home from work tonight. Joey is 6 and Johnny is 4, and they will love reading about what's going on with the animals. Poor Gus and his snake bite. Glad he's recovering nicely.

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