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Grizzly Sow nursing cubs

One of the highlights of my trip to Alaska last July and August was getting to see the grizzly sows nursing their cubs.  This sow and her cubs had gone to feed on clams out on the mudflats, and as soon as they returned to the meadow, the sow rolled onto her back and let the cubs crawl on top of her to nurse.

Grizzly sows have four teats, and these two cubs each picked a side, and then alternated between the upper and lower teats on their side of mom.

It was so neat that the sow felt comfortable enough to feed her babies with a small group of us watching.  We were close enough to hear the cubs latch onto their respective teats and suckle.  The bears also make a very sweet, almost purring  sound when they nurse.

And we couldn’t have asked for a prettier setting than a daisy-strewn meadow!

I feel so fortunate to have been able to witness this.

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