Grazing grizzlies


The grizzly bear has a fearsome reputation as a predator. It is earned: the bear is strong and combative. But, while it is a carnivore, most of its time is spent eating plants, often just grazing. 

A grizzly sow (r.h.s.) and her two yearling cubs were grazing in a meadow. While people often suggest that grizzlies eat skunk cabbage, this family ignored them and just went for the grass.

When the bear’s head was down, it was difficult to decide which plant it was eating, but when it lifted its head, the grass dangling from its jaws provided compelling evidence.

The sow is in the foreground and her (male?) cub is behind. A grizzly’s dished face profile is clear.

Here, it looks as if mommy is growling at something and her (female?) cub is cowering. Such is the happenstance of the shot. Actually, the sow is just chewing some grass and the cub is merely lowering its head to graze some more.


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4 Responses to Grazing grizzlies

  1. birthe says:

    Amazing photos Alistair. Did you see these grizzlies on the North Shore?

  2. Irene McIlwaine says:

    Wonderful pictures. Thanks a lot. Irene

  3. Trevor Goward says:

    Hi Alistair

    Seeing black bears and sometimes grizzlies chewing grass at roadside is a common sight in late spring here in the Clearwater Valley, the record being, if memory serves, 25 bears over a 60 km stretch of road. I read somewhere that newly emerging grass contains as much protein as cheese. Though surely an exaggeration, the point is that grass for this reason is much sought after by bear in spring – presumably to the exclusion of nearby alternatives like skunk cabbage, which in any case likely now contains tiny shards of calcium oxalate, rendering it unpalatable. Just a thought – or two thoughts, actually.

    Take good care


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