Who knows where big teddy bears would be had it not been for some felt animal pincushions that were designed in 1902 by Margarete Steiff. Following their popularity, Margarete went on to create the teddy bear. While his looks have a changed a little over the years, that original bear she designed, is still the iconic soft toy we know and love today.
In past historical documents, the hibernation habits of brown bears living in Spain had been questioned. As a result, between 1998 and 2007, Spanish scientists decided to to follow the brown bear population through the mountains of the Cantabrian Cordillera, so they could put to rest the ongoing debate.
According to The Libro la Monteria – circa 14th century – authored by King Alfonso XI, female brown bears with cubs born in the previous year, did not sleep in the winter. Or at least, not all brown bears did. Carlos Nores, lead author of this new study, which was conducted some 400 years after the writings of the 14th century document, said “during our monitoring of female bears with young, which we did in the east of the Cordillera Cantábrica on the basis of footprints and tracks, we saw that some animals stayed active throughout the whole winter.”
Monitoring of female brown bears for the study took place between December and March and the results showed that mother’s with cubs aged between 11 and 14 months, were active continuously, much like young, two year old bears are when they are beginning to break out on their own and show independence. However, when the entire family group was together, the tendency was to hibernate more. In the two bear populations, where seven family groups of bears were followed, Nores remarked that “they did not enter the physiological state of hibernation at any time.”
We know for a fact that big teddy bears don’t sleep. In fact, the only time they might get any rest at all is when their owner finally retires for the night. Big teddy bears are ‘on call’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week given they have a very large role to play; they need to be there to share triumph and disaster, comfort in times of sadness, and join in adventures great and small. No sleep for big teddy bears is a small price to pay really, when you consider just how important they are in a child’s life.