Black bears are timid animals.  Yes, we know this is counter-intuitive, because people expect a very large and powerful animal like a bear to be bold and assertive.  However, they are basically shy, timid, and easily frightened.  And if this is true of all black bears, it is even more true of black bear cubs.  To a cub, trees equal safety.  They will scamper up a tree if they are startled or frightened by a noise or by the sudden appearance of something or someone disturbing.

The photos in today’s post demonstrate this.  A noise (probably the crunching of gravel beneath Curator Coy’s foot) startled Finnegan Bear and cause him to dash up a nearby tree.  If you have never seen a bear cub go up a tree, you wouldn’t believe how fast they can move!  Andy and Eliza Bear, who were foraging nearby, were startled too, whether by the noise or by Finn’s reaction.  They ran to the tree and stood up, ready to join Finn.  As it happened, things quieted down (no more gravel crunching) and Finn climbed back down to join the other two cubs in foraging .


Finnegan scampered up the tree at the unfamiliar sound.  One of the siblings (probably Andy) is standing up to see what’s going on.


This closeup shows how well a cub like Finnegan can hold on to a tree trunk.

Andy, Eliza, Finn

Andy and Eliza stayed at the base of the tree, but were ready to climb, just in case.


Finnegan decided there was no threat and climbed down.

We can see in that photo that Finn and one of the siblings  (probably Eliza) were vocalizing.

Three cubs

A few minutes later, the three cubs went back to foraging peacefully.

The fright was short-lived and soon forgotten.  But we are glad that our little bears have good wild bear instincts that will help to keep them safe when they are back in the wild and need to remain watchful at all times.