Grizzly bears can run at up to 35mph, so if you're too close then there's precious little time to get out of the way. That's a lesson two tourists learned after accidentally antagonizing a mother and her cub at Grand Teton National Park. In a video recorded by another visitor, the pair can be seen standing outside their car to take pictures of the two animals at the roadside. Unfortunately for them, the sow takes exception to this and charges, forcing one man to race inside their car while the other climbed onto the roof.
Of course, had the animal really wanted to, it could still have reached him with ease. Though black bears are more proficient at scaling obstacles, the National Park Service (NPS) explains that grizzlies are capable climbers too.
Luckily for them, she seems satisfied. With those two dealt with, she rears up to get a better view, then chases another tourist back inside their vehicle, safely away from her young.
The whole incident, which you can watch below, was shared via notorious Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which calls out careless behavior at sites of natural beauty around the world, including people taking family photos on the rim of the Grand Canyon and poking moose at a ski resort.
A photo posted by on
As the NPS explains, Grand Teton is home to both black bears and grizzlies, and while both types generally prefer to avoid interacting with humans, they can become aggressive if they, their young, or their food source is threatened.
"Bears may appear tolerant of people and then attack without warning," says the NPS. "A bear's body language can help you determine its mood. In general, bears show agitation by swaying their heads, huffing, and clacking their teeth. Lowered head and laid-back ears also indicate aggression."
If a bear charges you, official advice from Park Rangers is not to run. Bears will often make bluff charges, stopping or veering off at the last moment. It's generally recommended to wait until the bear stops, then back away slowly. This is also the time to deploy your bear spray.
For more advice, take a look at our guides what to do if you meet a bear and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
- The best binoculars: enjoy watching wildlife from a safe distance
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.