WATCH: Two Huge Brown Bears Fight Over Territory in River While People Film From Boat Just feet Away

by Jon D. B.
Brown bears (Ursus arctos beringianus) fight in Kurile Lake. Kamchatka peninsula. Russian Federation. Eurasia. (Photo by: Valerio Ferraro/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

What may be a “light disagreement” for brown bears would snap us humans in two, and you can feel that power in this harrowing clip.

Posted to popular Instagram account NatureIsMetal and quickly going viral, this fantastic (albeit brief) footage of two brown bears clashing illustrates just how territorial the species is. Inland grizzlies (a subspecies of browns) are even more so, but that doesn’t take away from how fiercely a coastal brown bear will defend their territory. Take a look:

“This is a light disagreement between a mother bear with a cub and another bear who is too close for her comfort,” NatureIsMetal captions the footage. “Luckily, both are well equipped to absorb these warning shots. Humans are not, which is the reason behind the warnings about bears with cubs and getting too close. While the bears seem relatively unfazed, the exact same act performed on a human would fold them up like a deck chair,” they conclude.

You can say that again. The situation appears to be between a yearling (approx. 1-2 years of age) and a sow who is not the youngster’s mother. Brown bears rear their young for up to two years, and bruins venture out on their own towards the end of their adolescence. Around this age, a brown will typically weight a good 300+ pounds already. But that’s nothing compared to the 700-1,000 pounds fully-grown adults can reach.

Yet this young bear is a tenacious one. He may be far-outmatched in size, but he stands his ground with full determination. And the fight looks to be over a prized fishing spot; something this sow surely covets.

Brown Bears are in Hyperphagia, Making Fights More Common

These sort of disputes are common in October, as North American bears enter hyperphagia: a state of heightened feeding ahead of winter hibernation. Brown bears must pack on ample pounds for a healthy slumber, and that means fierce competition over resources.

Yearlings have youth and vigor on their side in these competitions, too. This young one is looking to feed in a prime spot, but the sow isn’t giving it up without a fight. And this youngster is lucky she doesn’t appear to be a mother with cubs. If she were, this fight would’ve gone very, very differently.

While all bears have a reputation as being fiercely protective mothers, this trait is by-far the strongest in brown bears. Brown mothers will defend their cubs to the death with fierce tenacity. If this sow had cubs in tow, the younger would’ve been beaten back and subdued in a matter of seconds.

The same can be said of boars (males), who do not tolerate competition from younger, smaller bears anywhere near their territory.

In short, this youngster picked the right fight, and it looks to have paid off ahead of hibernation. Nature truly is metal.

For more brown bear action, be sure to get in on Fat Bear Week with us here at Outsider.