Baby bears cross the road

A mother bear gets two distressed cubs to cross the road.  Things to note:

  1. FOUR cubs! That’s a lot; I thought the median number was about two.
  2. Note the babies’ squalling, which is incredibly cute.
  3. The babies appear to be following either the mother’s scent or the mother’s tracks
  4. I love the way the mother lures the cubs: she pretends to run away so that the cubs will follow her, but then comes back when they don’t follow. She does this several times.
  5. Cubs don’t seem to like roads.

Bears are awesome.

Credits: Occurred on April 9, 2019 / Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. Credit: FB/EnteringCadesCove


  1. merilee
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Very cute! You’d think that Momma would just scruff them one at a time, We saw something similar on a back road in Bugaboo Provincial Park in eastern British Columbia. There were only two cubs and Momma growled at us when we stopped our car (glad I was IN a car),

  2. loren russell
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Certainly reinforces the meme that bears have horrible vision [or visual processing].

  3. JezGrove
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Luckily it was a quiet road.

    • Jim batterson
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      People including tourists around cades cove are used to stopping for bears. Some years ago i took a bicycle ride around the one way single lane five-mile cades cove loop road. Tourists cars were backed up at several points due to bear sightings. Lots of cameras. Do not know if it is official policy, but Bears seem to have have right of way.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    It’s an age old question, why did the bear cross the road? Or was the question, why did they put this road through my home?

  5. Desnes Diev
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the cubs would act like that on a dry road. It is possible that they are disturbed by the reflection of water on asphalt which gives the road a not-usual, river-like aspect. They seem more confident when walking on the white lines.

    • Mike
      Posted April 26, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly.

  6. Roger
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Bears scare the hell out of me more than dogs do.

  7. W.T. Effingham
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Momma bear appeared to be pacing herself and allowing the straggler to benefit from its siblings’ behaviors. If a vehicle approaches quickly, it would not surprise me to see Momma bear give an impromptu tumbling lesson.

  8. Jonathan Dore
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    The white lines were quite compelling for the second cub; it couldn’t seem to get past them.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      I think Desnes above is right, the slick, black tarmac might read as dangerous just by evolved instinct [without a cub forming a view as to what it is lake, river, tar pit] & the white lines read as safe edges to stand on. Scent of Mum’s trail not enough for little cub to overcome distrust of the ‘big black thingie’ it’s stuck in the middle of.

  9. Heather Hastie
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful video!

  10. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    As was already mentioned the cubs seemed concerned over the wet tarmac.

    It might have appeared as big black pit of doom.

    Interesting though.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 25, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      It might have appeared as big black pit of doom.

      I was struck by that too. They’d probably met water before, but this big puddle … your paws don’t go through it? Eh?
      The texture of the ground hard, smooth and flat – would also have been unusual to them.

  11. Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    With four cubs, this momma bear has a very tough job on her hands paws!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 25, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      How many nipples do bears (normally) have? If it’s less than 4, the runt is … well, dead bear, walking.

      • Posted April 25, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Don’t worry, the runt will be just fine. 🙂


        Reproductive Female:

        -There are four pectoral and two inguinal nipples. (D245)

        -While there are normally two pectoral pairs of nipples and one inguinal pair,

        -supernumerary nipples occur occasionally: one female had an additional abdominal pair of nipples which appeared normal and functional,

        -another female also had an extra, abdominal pair of nipples but one nipple was rudimentary and appeared to be non-functional. (J332.41.w2)

        -Three pairs of mammary glands. (B147)

        -There are usually four functional pectoral nipples and two functional inguinal nipples;

        -extra nipples have been observed occasionally. (B406.35.w35)

        -Six functional mammary glands. (B442.8.w8)

        -Female bears have an os clitoris. (J332.69.w1)


        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted April 26, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          -Female bears have an os clitoris. (J332.69.w1

          Well, that is a novelty. It shouldn’t be unexpected, but I can’t think that I’ve ever heard of such before.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 25, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Six glands & six nipples

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted April 26, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          Hmm, more than I’d have expected, given a norm of one or two cubs/ litter. A hang-over from the evolutionary history of bears, I guess, when larger litters were more common.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted April 26, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

            One of the few weird exceptions: The naked mole rat mum breaks the ‘one half rule’ by a hefty margin, whereas the American black bear conforms: “….Litter size is between one and six cubs, typically two or three…” [Wiki]

  12. Rupinder Sayal
    Posted April 25, 2019 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Made my day! Thanks for posting this clip of cuteness overload!

  13. Posted April 25, 2019 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    Did you say “awesome”?

  14. Jeff J
    Posted April 25, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Decades ago, my Dad and I encountered a similar scene while out hunting on foot on an isolated logging road: a mama black bear and two cubs. We were dozens of yards away and the cubs took a mild interest in us. Dad simply said “back up” and proceeded to walk calmly backward faster than I would have thought possible, dragging me by my collar.

    Eventually mama convinced the cubs that we were no fun and they continued on their merry way across the road. We opted to wait for some time to pass before continuing on our merry way down the road.

  15. Posted April 25, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    It is hard to believe the cubs really hate the road that much. If they did, they would be trying harder to get off it. Their squalling struck me as a baby begging to be carried. Perhaps momma bear was trying to teach them that they need to walk by themselves rather than be carried all the time.

  16. Mike
    Posted April 26, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    If you’re interested in Black Bears, their behaviour and the reasons behind it, go here,.

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