Published: October 7, 2016

Four Animals That Raise Cubs

As all eyes are on some of our favorite local cubs, here’s a look at just a few animals in the wild that have young commonly referred to as cubs:

Bears

Two polar bear cubs in a snow den

Bears are probably what you think of first when it comes to cubs. From the grizzly to the giant panda, all baby bears can be referred to as cubs. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are normally solitary creatures, except for mothers keeping their cubs close. The mama bear will shelter her cubs in a den dug out of snow, protecting them from danger and teaching them to hunt. The cubs, usually born in pairs, are dependent on their mother for up to two and a half years.

Big cats

Lion cub sleeping next to adult lion

The offspring of large cats like lions, tigers, leopards, and jaguars are also called cubs. Lions (Panthera leo) live in groups of up to 20 known as prides. Related females within the pride will hunt together and care for each other’s cubs until they become more independent, at around 16 months old. Lion cubs are often born with brown spots that fade as they grow into adulthood. 

Raccoons

Yep, even baby raccoons can be called cubs. Northern raccoons (Procyon lotor) might have up to seven cubs at a time. Baby raccoons stay out of danger by living high above ground in a tree hollow for the first several weeks of their lives. Mom keeps a close eye on the cubs when they move down to the ground and start exploring more.

Badgers

Five badgers with brown fur and black and white striped faces

While Northern badgers (Taxidea taxus) can be fairly elusive (and sneaky) animals, European badgers (Meles meles) are actually quite social amongst themselves: adults and cubs live together in communal groups. Badger cubs are playful with each other, maturing in litters of up to five youngsters. (And like our Chicago Cubs, baby badgers wear their stripes well.)

Visit The Field Museum’s Nature Walk to see if you can spot these and more cubs!