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Flat Creek Inn Blog

Jackson Hole Wildlife, Part 8: Grizzly 399

June 28, 2021

Hello, folks and welcome to a special episode of Jackson Hole Wildlife. Tonight we’ll be talking about the only bear with an Instagram account (and no, I’m not talking about Bear Grylls). I’m talking about Grizzly 399, the most famous (and photographed) mother brown bear in the world. This brown bear is more hardcore than Bear Grylls* and has more take-downs than the Chicago Bears**. Let’s jump in.

*I didn’t verify this.

**That’s a thing, right? I don’t know anything about sports.

Grizzly 399 and her four cubs near Signal Mountain Lodge

Grizzly 399 and her four cubs near Signal Mountain Lodge (image credit: Steven P DeVries)

What makes this bear famous (besides Instagram)?

Grizzly 399 isn’t just another influencer; she’s the coolest, wildest mom in the Tetons. For starters, Grizzly 399 is super old (and by “super old,” I mean 24.) She’s raised successful progeny, including 16 cubs and grandcubs. And this overachiever typically gives birth to triplets instead of twins. In 2020, at the age of 24, Grizzly 399 had her first set of quadruplets. So there you have it. She’s old and has had a lot of kids. Sounds like my mom. 

How did she first become famous? 

In 2007, she appeared with three of her cubs along the side of the road and became an instant celebrity (among bears, as with humans, triplets are rare). A few years later, she had another set of triplets. Her advanced age made researchers worry that she’d be able to handle them, since more mouths to feed means more energy the mother has to expend (am I right, new moms?). But then came a weirdly heartwarming story: one of 399’s earlier triplets, 610, adopted one of the new cubs—along with her own twins. 

Why is her name Grizzly 399?

She was given this research number by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. Though you would think that after studying her for 24 years they would have given her an actual mid-90s name, like Brittany or Rachel. 

So she’s old. How long do bears usually live?

Bears can live up to 25 years in the wild. However, 85% of bears die of human-related causes before they reach old age.

So how has 399 lived so long?

She’s learned how to live near and next to humans—basically, how to take advantage of us. She teaches cubs to look both ways before crossing the street and follows hunters so they can eat the elk guts hunters leave behind. 

There you have it! 399 is resourceful, discerning, and knows how to score a sweet deal. (You know where this is going, right?) If 399 stayed at motels, she’d choose Flat Creek Inn. Visit us online to book your visit today.

Read previous posts about wildlife here: moose, elk, pronghorn, gray wolves, bears, bald eagles.

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