Thursday, January 25, 2018

Cave Bear

When my far distant ancestors arrived in central Europe somewhere around 40,000 years ago they had a neighbor, the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus). Cave bears were huge compared to the black bears that inhabit northcentral Pennsylvania. The largest male black bears can top 700 pounds, but large male cave bears apparently weighed 1,800 pounds, truly gigantic.

Cave bears evidently spent a lot of time in European caves, hence the name, and became extinct around 24,000 years ago when continental glaciers reached their maximum extent. The bears' preferred habitat is reported to have been low forested hills in central and southern Europe.

What do cave bears have to do with the natural world of northcentral Pennsylvania? Nothing really except the photos I recently downloaded from the camera trap I set at the entrance to a small cave brought cave bears to mind.

Here are some of the photographs from just one day in late November -

Two days later the bear returned to the cave and exhibited some of the same behavior and apparently never entered the cave -

Although not as large as the largest black bears my camera traps have ever recorded, and those were nowhere near the size of the largest black bears ever documented, he was a fair sized animal and probably weighed in the neighborhood of 300-350 pounds, maybe more. He was tiny compared with a large cave bear -- but it was a bear and it was at a cave.



The Furry Gnome said...

Great shots! Really enjoy your trailcam reports.

Angie said...

Wow! Great captures with your trail camera. That is a very healthy looking bear. I hope to get a variety of critters on my trail camera once winter is past - right now I see a lot of deer!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, awesome captures of the Black Bear. I wonder if the bear could smell some other animal at the cave. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Tammie Lee said...

Wonderful that you captured a bear doing it's thing.
I wonder what it was thinking.....

A Colorful World said...

Great bear photos from your Critter Cam!