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Animal Haven Zoo's brown bear exhibiting strange behaviors

This is Bubba the brown bear in May, 2021. He has lived at Animal Haven Zoo in Weyauwega, WI, for more than 9 years. We showed this video of Bubba to the founder of a nonprofit bear rescue and asked their opinion on Bubba’s behavior.

According to the source we spoke with, the rubbing Bubba exhibits in this video may be because he is super itchy, he may be trying to get all of his winter fur out, he may have an infestation of external parasites, or there may be female bears in heat nearby and he’s scent marking.

Bubba also chews on the bars of his cage in this video and you can see several areas where the bars are bent from his teeth. This is not normal bear behavior. The source we spoke with said it looks like Bubba has damaged his teeth from chewing on the bars. He may be chewing on the bars because his teeth are bothering him or the chewing may be a sign of zoochosis, a mental disorder seen in zoo animals caused by the stress of captivity.

The source also pointed out the worn path in the video, indicating Bubba has spent a lot of time pacing. Stereotypical pacing is also a sign of zoochosis.

Our source says Bubba should be evaluated by a veterinarian to determine what is causing his strange behaviors.

Please ask the USDA to check on Bubba the brown bear by visiting and use license number: 35-B-0214.


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