Bears make excellent mothers, they give their all to their little cubs. Mama bears sacrifice so much during the process, including a great deal of their weight, as they give most of their calories to their baby through milk.
When cubs are born they weigh less than one pound, have hardly any fur, and are so helpless they can’t even crawl. Mommy must do everything for her babes, including holding them up to her tummy in order to keep their bodies warm. Momma bear pays close attention to every last sound her babies make, always ready to move right away to help her babies reach milk or cuddle closer.
Bears have a lot to teach their cubs in a very little amount of time, although judging by these images they have a nice time doing so. Here are some of the most adorable pictures of mama bears parenting their young.
Baby cubs do not leave the den for the first time until they are around 2 or 3 months old, at which point they weigh only 4-6 pounds. Weight and strength has a lot to do with the number of siblings they have and how much milk supply mom can provide.
The strongest little cubs can already climb up at trees at only a few months old, although they can’t outrun predators such as wolves, meaning mom still has the job of protecting her young.
The most amazing part of it all? Mother bears do it all alone. Male bears play no part in raising their young.
When it comes time for hibernation, cubs do help with some of the den preparations, scrapping up leaves and twigs for mamma to incorporate in the construction. During hibrination, the mother always sleeps closest to the den opening, cuddled close to her baby for extra warmth and protection.
Is that bear smiling, beaming down at her child? Sure looks like it! See more bears doing human-like things.
Mama bears will even eat the waste in their den just to keep a clean home for their baby bears to live in.
After their first hibernation together, mama bear begins to teach her baby through example how to be an independent cub. Mom will be there to protect and nurture her cubs, but only until around 17 months, at which time mom will be ready to mate and start fresh again.
When bears are around 2-3 years old, it’s finally time for mommy to push them out of the den to go out and fend for themselves. After all of the good times, it isn’t easy for any mommy to watch her babies go off, but it must bring a sense of pride watching her grown up babies go off into the world. But bear moms don’t show any emotion about it, in fact they act annoyed by their babies and will literally start to chase them off.
For years after the two go their own ways, momma bear recognizes her growing babies but does not do much to interact with them. While babies will still frequent parts of their mother’s territory, these same areas are avoided by mother bear. In many cases, mom bear will find new territories to call her own so that she does not have to share a space with her daughter(s).
Male cubs leave their mother’s territory on their own free will before they are a fully mature bear. They will travel over one-hundred miles to settle and start their own bear family.
Image credits: Marco Mattiusi, Edwin Kats, Tin Man, Anton Belvodechenko, Gary Pollock, Marina Cano, Peter Stahl, Nikolai Zinoviev, Danilo Ernesto Melzi, Cano, Sergei Gladyshev, Zinoviev, Graham Mandre, trolljenta, Sergei Gladyshev