In the Field

Alaska Bears – Bear Cub Categories

Alaska Bears – Bear Cub Categories

In some of my past blog articles and videos, I covered the topics of how many cubs the brown bears of Alaska generally have, but this time we’ll take a look at the different categories of bear cubs. Most mother bears have a litter size of 2 to 3 bears and those cubs will stay with their mother for around three years until mom gives them the boot and the cubs are left to fend for themselves.

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Coys

coy bears

Brown bear cubs are born in the winter den and when they emerge with mom in the spring they grow up fast. The cubs that are born that year are referred to as “COY” bears, which stands for “cub of the year.” Along with being very small and cute, these little bears are distinguished by a ring or collar of lighter colored fur around their neck which fades away as they get older.

Yearlings

yearling bear cubs

Cubs that are around 1 to 2 years of age are called “yearlings.” These bears are quite a bit larger than COYs, but they still hang out and nurse from their mom. Yearlings are very playful and curious, as they’re in the process of discovering the world around them and learning the skills necessary for survival.

Subadults

subadult bear

After 2 and a half years or so the yearling cubs start growing into what’s referred to as subadult bears, and it’s around this time that they will head out on their own to further grow and develop and into adult bears. Check out the video below to see more…

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