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Fat bears; fat bear week; bears
Photo by Mark Basarab on Unsplash

It's Fat Bear Week and we pick the winner.

Everyone knows that fat animals are infinitely more visually appealing, much to veterinarians' collective dismay. They may not be at their pinnacle of health, yet we love them anyway, especially when they're babies. Bears, however, are supposed to get chunky so they get a pass. Before the winter when they hibernate, they're all about feeding their faces and storing fat for the winter. Wildlife archivists Explore has put all these fat bears in one place so we can vote on who gets to be supreme Fat Bear. Fat Bear Week is an annual event that anyone with internet access can participate in.


The bears, unfortunately, don't win any prizes for being named the fattest bear in Alaska, but America wins a prize by seeing big fuzzy bear bellies. Sure, the bears make you wish you could pet them and give them all the head scratches, and yes they'd probably try to eat you if you actually tried. That doesn't stop this from being the cutest competition out there. The event is well run, with brackets to predict the winner. I don't know what brackets are but it makes it sound so much more exciting.

Photo by Rey Emsen on Unsplash

When exactly is Fat Bear Week, you may be asking? It's now, like right now, so go download your bracket thingy and enter your picks or whatever you do with brackets. Fat Bear Week runs from October 5 through October 11 and match-ups for voting start at 12 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. EST. This contest is ruthless because there are no second chances. If a bear's extra fluff isn't up to the internet's standards then it's eliminated. No take backs.

For every head-to-head match-up between chubby little cubbies, you get one vote to pick the bear that's showing the most fat gained. The bear with the most votes gets to move to the next round and the bear with the least amounts of votes gets to no longer be judged by random strangers on the internet. Wait, I think we all would like the prize of not being judged by strangers on the internet.

This all may seem like a weird thing to have turned into a competition but it really isn't. Fat Bear Week started in 2013 after someone took pictures of the same bear from the bear cam and commented on how fat the bear had gotten when preparing for hibernation. According to video journalist Mike Fritz, he noticed comments under the videos of the bears from the bear cam about how chubby all of the bears were getting, and an idea was born.

Can you blame the commenters? These fat bears are seriously cute and once I figure out what brackets are and how to use them, I'm going to vote in this unexpectedly wholesome contest. May the fattest bear win and come out of hibernation looking as if they haven't skipped a meal and are well rested. Now, go vote! It'll make you feel better.

All photos courtesy of Albertsons
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