Meet my favorite bear “Cheetah”
I’ve got to start the grizzly bear blog with my favorite girl “Cheetah”. Isn’t she a beauty? Her name comes from a dark scar running down her cheek that reminds me of the facial markings of Cheetahs. Like many of the female bears in this area, Cheetah is so blond she almost appears white. Grizzly bears come in many colors ranging from blond to almost black. I snapped this picture sitting in the sedge grass meadows as Cheetah grazed quietly around where I sat. Cheetah has spent her whole life around human bear viewers who visit Katmai and is very comfortable around people. In fact Cheetah seemed to often seek out our attention, choosing to come close and hang near.
Cheetah was quite the fastidious bear and we observed her taking a bath nearly every day. She just loves playing in the water, kicking her legs in the air and scrubbing her hair clean. She also plays an interesting water game – blowing bubbles.
During her baths, Cheetah would dunk her face under the water and exhale forcefully. A frothy eruption of bubbles would swirl wildly around her face until she surfaced for a deep, long inhale. Cheetah would entertain herself, and us, with her daily bubble blowing sessions. She seemed to notice how much it tickled us, peeking over between underwater blows to watch us laughing at her in rapt attention.
All clean, Cheetah looks over at us before exiting the river and resuming the all important task of grazing on sedge grass.