BearHead Photography has many images to showcase his expansive portfolio on mammals of North America and around the globe, and here are his wild pictures of river otters, weasels, asian elephants, pine marten, monkey, lizard, badger, and porcupines.
Finding an ermine in the winter is not an easy task. Finding a small white animal in a land of snow is like looking for a needle in a hay stack. Fortunately, this little guy came out of his hole right when we were going by and my friend spotted him. When he first saw us it just stood there to try and figure out what we were.
River otters are a very playful animal. After swimming in the freezing water for a long time, this otter finally got out to play and clean himself. He would roll around in the snow and have the best of time, and when he would look up his face would often be covered in snow.
Badgers in the snow stick out pretty bad, because they are a dark animal. It's not often that they are found in the winter. This one was walking around carefully through the bushes, attempting to blend in.
Pine marten are a very hard animal to photograph. I have seen many in my life, but most sightings only last a couple seconds and then they disappear. After running a while, this marten climbed a tree and looked back at me in the forest. I was so excited that it climbed a tree and gave me a second to capture a photo!
A Curious Look
An ermine is definitely not a large animal. When it is on all fours, it is only a couple inches tall. It was curious about us humans trying to photograph it, so it came closer and stood up to investigate us a little.
There are few things in nature more fun to watch than an otter family. They cannot stay still and are always on the go. The family was pruning each other when something caught their attention and they all looked at the same time.
River otters are truly an animal that likes to have fun. When I see them, they always seem to be smiling and enjoying themselves. This otter would swim under the ice to a small opening a couple hundred yards down stream, and then run and slide on his belly back to his family. A video of this otter sliding went viral.
If I was a river otter, winter would be my favorite season. They get to run and slide on the snow and ice. They will create a tunnel in the snow for them to slide down, like human kids do in the winter. These three otters all slide down this slide, and as the last came down it rolled over on its back to slide into its sibling.
Leaning Against Mother
While in the tall jungle plants, I didn't even know there was a baby elephant. Mom came rushing out of the jungle and onto the dry river bed. Soon after, her little one followed and leaned against her for comfort.
Monkeys are very playful animals and bounce around from place to place. There were a couple of rocks that they particularly liked to jump between in this area. In the late evening, it looked as if this monkey was floating as he jumped between the rocks.
Land iguanas do not move around much in the morning. They have to wait on the sun to warm their body before they can become active. They even hardly move off a trail when people walk by. They are very yellowish and larger than the marine iguanas.
The sally lightfoot crabs are fun to watch move around the rocks. They are not very scared of anything and will actually climb over iguanas and eat things from their backs. They are everywhere in the Galapagos and very colorful.
It's amazing how few porcupines I see for how much of the year I spend in the woods. While on a trail this porcupine came out and was not going to move because of me. It was nice to finally see a clear view of a porcupine.
River otters follow the river, even when it freezes over. They can swim large distances without needing to come up for air. Here, a snow drift had covered the river and this otter decided to come up to look for any danger nearby.
Finding a snow shoe hare in the snow is extremely difficult. I would see them in the dark with my headlights, but never in the day time. They have the perfect camouflage and don’t move if they don’t have to. My wife somehow spotted this hare coming down from a hike, and I was so thrilled to finally get to photograph one!
This part of the creek was around four feet wide. Too far for an ermine to easily jump across. After looking good for the first part of the jump, it started to fall. It spread out its legs to try and glide the rest of the way across the creek.
Picking Up Speed
Elephants can hide amazingly well in the forest. For as big as they are, they can disappear and reappear very quickly. This elephant had a young baby, and when it saw something in the dry riverbed it came charging out of the woods to scare the other animal off.
Elephants come in all different sizes. They can become so large it is hard to imagine an animal being that big, to being incredibly small when they are born. As these three elephants walked in stride, it showed how each was in a different stage of growth.
While in India I really wanted to see a wild cobra. This black cobra ventured into the resort I was staying at and that excited me. The moment I saw it I had massive respect for it, and it had an aura surrounding it that was like nothing I had ever experienced before.
During the heat of the day the monitor lizards will take it easy. Even in the shade of the jungles it can be very hot. This lizard was doing a little sunbathing before heading out in the evening.
Going for It
Ermine are little weasels that turn white in the winter. They are very quick and hard to keep up with. This ermine was really moving around a lot, and really went for it with this jump over the snow drifts.
River otters are such a fun animal to watch in the wild. They are unpredictable, and more often than not they look like they are having the best time. This family play wrestled for a very long time, and never seemed to tire of playing. One of these otters is the famous otter from my otter video sliding on its belly that went viral.
I think river otters have the most fun of any animal. They always seem to be goofing off and seem to be not caring about anything else. Watching these three otters run, slide, and run some more made me smile.
During the winter it is rare to see a pika. During the summer and fall they collect leaves, grass, and other greenery to survive under the rocks and snow all winter. It was surprising to see this pika in the heart of the winter in Yellowstone.
Sea turtles have been known to hold their breath for 5 hours. They spend almost their entire lives exclusively in the water. On land they are very slow animals and have no real reason to go onto land, unless you're a female and going to lay eggs.
During the summer, the collared pika has to gather and store food for the winter. They don't hibernate, but stay underneath the snow all winter and eat their supply of grasses and greenery. It takes hundreds of trips like these to survive all winter.
River otters are master fishermen. This evening it seemed like every time an otter went down, it came back with a fish. This mother decided to swim to shore to eat, and one of her pups followed her hoping to get some of the food.
I have only seen baby otters a couple times. This was the first time I saw them, and as it swam by its mother I could tell it was a baby because it was only half as big as her. When it came close to where I was and climbed on the log in the water to check me out, it was neat to get a close up look of just how small it was.
Fish for Dinner
When an otter goes fishing, it is intense. They attack the fish with a vengeance and don't give up until they catch one. In this shallow stream, this otter caught a cutthroat trout after a few minutes and was trying to get it to shore to eat.
Watching otters swim in the water is so much fun! They are very fast and are unpredictable. This otter was just out for an evening swim and enjoying itself in the last light of the day.
River otters are very playful animals. They roll over each other and play all the time. These two had just got out of the creek and were licking the other one clean before going back in the river.
Porcupines are very interesting animal. They are not large, cannot move fast, and spend lots of their time in trees. They go into the trees to eat, and for protection. This porcupine was not happy I had found it, so I moved on quickly after taking this photo.
The Little Things
All over Denali are ground squirrels. Bears will even chase these animals to have a snack. As night was beginning to come, this squirrel was checking the area to make sure no predators were around.
A Sneaky Look
Long-tailed weasels never stay in one place very long. They are very fast, and also very aggressive. This weasel had gone down this ground squirrel burrow and didn't find any, so it was looking around up top for others.
The marine iguana of the Galapagos is unique to other iguanas in that it can live and forage in the sea. It has no problem diving down up to 30 feet and eating algae off the rocks while holding on with its claws. They are much smaller than the land iguanas in the Galapagos.