Moth-Eating Grizzlies: Brett French Radio Show Preview
It’s hard to believe that those irritating moths that hover around your porch light in the summer are such an attractant for some grizzly bears. The millers, which are army cutworm moths, fly from the Great Plains in the spring in search of flowers. As the summer progresses, they will move into the high country where flowers bloom later. After feeding at night, the moths gather under rocks on talus slopes to spend their days in the shade. That’s where grizzly bears in the southeastern portion of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem search for the moths. In the morning and evening, the bears turn over rocks to chow down on the tiny morsels that pack a lot of protein and fat.
According to one study, a bear can eat up to 40,000 moths in a day which equals about 20,000 calories. Since these moth feeding sites were discovered by bear researchers back in the mid-1980s, they’ve seen the popularity of such places grow. But not all bears are attracted to the slopes and its probably not drawing bears from a long ways away. Still, it’s pretty amazing that such a small creature can attract such a big one.
To read more about the bears, log on to The Billings Gazette at: http://bgz.tt/inuom
(Written by Brett French – Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette)