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Tag Archives: Play

Grizzly Cub Play 2

The grizzly cubs entertaining themselves on this large driftwood stump while their mother was grazing alternated between playing nicely together and mock-fighting.  All of their “fights” seemed to be pretty tame:  gentle boxing and wrestling matches with an occasional playful nip thrown in for emphasis.  I never heard a squeal or yelp from either of them.

It’s a good thing they play gently because even though they’re young, their claws and teeth are already quite sharp.  Notice the choppers the cub on the left is sporting.  And yes, they’re both still nursing…OW!!!

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Grizzly Cub Play

These two grizzly cubs had a wonderful time climbing all over this overturned driftwood stump while their mother was grazing nearby in the meadow.  There were places to smell, and places to scratch, and there was bark to peel off…not to look for bugs to eat, but just for the fun of it!  There were roots to bend to see if they would break (some did, some didn’t) and still others to chew on…and best of all, you could climb to the high end and get a good look (and sniff) around.  Fun!

upside down grizzly cub

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post (“Lookin’ Around,” 10.25.13) photographing grizzly cubs playing in tall grass had its challenges.  This image illustrates that perfectly.  The cub on the right has obviously toppled over, and its sibling on the left is taking advantage of the fallen bear’s vulnerability by play-biting it on its head.

At first, attempting to photograph the cubs’ antics seemed pointless.  We would see the grass blades moving, a blur of brown fur, and an occasional nose or paw momentarily sticking up.  But we kept the shutters snapping in the hopes that one or both of the cubs would do something precious where we could actually see and snap it.

Mom was taking advantage of her children’s preoccupation to do some uninterrupted grazing nearby. The cubs would take a break from their playing every few minutes to locate mom, and then resume their frolicking.

A good time was had by all:  the sow, the cubs, and the photographers!

playing cubs

Since grizzly bear cubs don’t eat anywhere near as much as their mothers do, they have plenty of time to goof off while the sow is foraging.  All the play I witnessed between these two cubs was gentle wrestling interspersed with an occasional soft nip.  Often they would be rolling together in the tall grass, and all we would see was an occasional paw sticking up.  But the patient photographer who remained ready to shoot would periodically be rewarding by one or both cubs coming up for air, as in this shot.

cub with driftwood

There was no way a bear cub could pass up this tempting piece of driftwood, despite the repercussions for not staying close to mom as she walked along the beach.  After all, it had cub-height branches to hang from and climb up on and bounce around on…it’s as if it was custom-designed to keep bear cubs entertained for hours!

Mom was having none of it, however.  She never slowed down as she was crossing the beach.  The cubs snuck in a few seconds of play, then had to run to catch up with mom again, who was in an unusually bad mood today, and not tolerating her youngsters’ mischievousness…much to the disappointment of both the cubs as well as the photographers!

cubs on beach

What kid–or cub–doesn’t love going to the beach on a summer day?