22 January 2011

The Ultimate Bear Pile

There are four bears in this screen shot from a web cam. 
The bear on top (whose face is showing) is exactly one year old today.
She is lying on her mother named Lily.
Underneath this 300lb-plus pile of bear are two cubs born to Lily yesterday.
Because her cubs are less than a pound each with little fur
Lily keeps them protected close to her body and 
occasionally breathing on them to provide warmth.
This amazing perspective via the internet from the north woods of Minnesota

Both bears looking down at the new cubs.
All yearling bears share their first winter with their mothers in a den 
before going off on their own their second year.  
Usually the mother bear has cubs every other year so she is not pregnant 
when sharing a den.  This is an unusual case of a mixed-age litter 
and the first to be recorded on a web cam.
The cubs will not be very visible until they get bigger 
and the weather starts to warm out of the subzero range this time of year.  

For now the cubs can be heard easily when they nurse or cry 
and glimpses of them will happen when Lily cleans them or 
rakes in fresh bedding (photo above).