Grizzly Bear Skinning a Salmon

grizzly bears feeding behavior

This grizzly bear is eating the skin of a freshly caught sockeye salmon at Brooks Falls in Alaska.  Bears rip off the skin with such ease it looks like they are peeling back saran wrap.  Eating the skin first is common because the skin is full of fat and nutrients.  Fish skin is one of the principle ways that animals like grizzly bears obtain Vitamin D. 

Bears will often eat parts of the fish with the most calories first in case they aren’t able to finish eating the whole fish.  Some bears are fish thieves, so quickly eating the most nutritious parts is wise.  In some areas like Brooks Falls where the fish may be over abundant in July, some bears will only eat the skin and brains of the fish.  They drop the rest of the fish back into the water.  Less experienced bears as well as ravens, foxes and gulls may then feast off the scraps.

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