Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rock climbing bears.

What would make this large male bear pretend to be an avid rock climber to climb up as these slippery rocks? This takes place in the middle of May in the Valley of the Geysers in Kronotsky Nature Reserve in Kamchatka. At this time of year the rest of Kamchatka is still covered with thick snow. These rocks are warmed by volcanic warmth, and covered with first lush grass. That grass must be very tasty for bears after they spent half a year with no food in their winter dens.

In the Valley of the Geysers bears graze on the river banks of the Geysernaya river as well as on the edges of the geysers. Geysers are hot, so in this area, despite all the precautions, people get injured almost every year. Do bears also burn their paws in hot geysers?

It is funny to watch how young and inexperienced animals behave around the geysers. They look like tourists who are left without a guide. When they first see eruption of geysers they get scared and try to run away burning their paws in hot. And only later they learn to carefully try the ground underneath before putting all weight on it.

Experienced animals find use of park wooden paths in the places where the land is especially hot...

...and use stones when crossing the hot springs.

And this bear has made the best prescription for his chemical burn injury: he submerged himself in the Geyser River for couple of hours. The cool waters cooled down the burn and washed away the chemicals. So the bear survived. As a matter of fact, there are no recorded deaths of bears due to chemical and temperature burns. As opposed to humans who did have lethal incidents...

Read more about my observations how bears avoid injuries at one of my previous posts (this link will take you to google-translation of the original story).


  1. Hello Igor
    You have a fantastic blog, beautiful photos. Great job, greetings from Polish.