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Sow & four Cubs, Yellowstone Park

Four Grizzly Bear Cubs in Yellowstone National Park (Daryl Hunter's "The Hole Picture" � Daryl L. Hunter has been photographing the Yellowstone Region since 1987, when he packed up his view camera, Pentex 6X7, and his 35mm�s and headed to Jackson Hole Wyoming. Besides selling photography Daryl also publ/Daryl L. Hunter)

Four Grizzly Bear Cubs in Yellowstone National Park


The spring of 2010 brought a nice surprise to Yellowstone National Park, A grizzly sow with four new cubs put on quite a show in Yellowstone’s northwest corner. The sow was dubbed Quadra Mom.

One of the quadruplets was a runt half the size of the others and was often seen hitchhiking on his mother’s back. The runt was also a mischievous little guy. Whenever mom would start moving to another area three cubs would always be on her heels, then when the runt would look around and discover he was alone he would hurry to catch up.  It took about two seconds for him to become the favorite of everyone.

It’s not unusual for grizzly bear sows to give birth to two cubs, and on occasion three, but when was the last time you heard of a sow having quadruplets. It is extremely rare to see litters of four cubs in Yellowstone, although litters of 4 have occasionally been documented. Climate may be the single most important factor in influencing the foods that determine the reproductive rate of the grizzly bear population. There is one reasonably well-documented case of a sow with five new cubs in Yellowstone, but two is most typical.

Quadra Mom was quite the center of the universe for Yellowstone’s dedicated wildlife watchers and photographers till July when she moved away from the road and into the backcountry into Gardiners Hole.

In the spring of 2011 much anticipation was centered around Quadra Mom, many feared all the cups wouldn’t make it through the long winter. All were worried about the runt.

Winter went into overtime in the spring of 2001 and when Quadra Mom emerged from her den she only had tow cups with her. Good, bad or indifferent nature will be nature.

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