Monday, 8 June 2020

URSUS CURIOUS

A young Black Bear cub, Ursus americanus, checks out a frisky, startled Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis, both native species in southern British Columbia. While related to polecats and other members of the weasel family, skunks have as their closest Old World relatives the stink badgers.

The animals are known for their ability to spray a liquid with a strong, unpleasant smell. Generally, the aroma from a skunk is enough of a deterrent to keep curiosity at bay. Not in this case.

Bear cubs are known for being playful and altogether too curious. Born in January, they usually stick pretty close to Mamma for the first two years of their lives but sometimes an intriguing opportunity for discovery will cross their path and entice them to slip away just for a few minutes to check it out. Yearlings are usually quite skittish, spending their time hidden up in trees. By the end of the summer, they grow into confident little bears. The karma gods were good to this wee one. Nobody was skunked in this quest for exploration, though not for lack of trying.