WARNING: Disturbing images:

The truth behind the story of a man spending a month inside a bear den

A Russian man has been rescued from a bear den after he claims the animal broke his spine and kept him there for a month.

The man, who said his name was Alexander, was discovered by hunting dogs in Russia's remote Tuva region, close to the border with Mongolia, the Daily Mail reported.

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Brown bears have been known to partially or completely bury animals they kill. Photo / Supplied
Brown bears have been known to partially or completely bury animals they kill. Photo / Supplied

Initially the hunters thought the man's body had been mummified but were stunned to discover he was alive.

Shocking pictures show the man with dry blood and dirt encrusting his body.

The exact location where he was found has not been revealed, nor the name of the hospital where he was treated.

He was spoken to by medical staff in Russian rather than the local Tuvan language.

Video shows medics asking the man his name, prompting him to reply "Alexander".

Medics said the man could move his arms but is otherwise immobile and exhausted.

It is unclear when Alexander was found. He has told doctors the attack happened a month ago.

Brown bears have been known to partially or completely bury animals they kill or carrion they find, sometimes waiting for days or weeks before returning to it.

Rescuers said that the man looked like a mummy when he was found in the den. Photo / Supplied
Rescuers said that the man looked like a mummy when he was found in the den. Photo / Supplied

Ivan V. Seryodkin, of the Russian academy of sciences, theorised that they do this to keep prey hidden from other scavengers while the meat decomposes, making it easier for them to eat.

He was described as having "severe injuries and rotting tissue" from lying motionless for so long in the den.

"Local medics say they cannot explain how the man survived such injuries," said the report.

Alexander said that he drank his own urine to stay alive.

Doctors said it was a "miracle" that he wasn't killed, and admit that they aren't sure how he was able to survive for so long.

A spokesman at the health ministry in Tuva Republic, a region in southern Siberia, told EAST2WEST NEWS today: "We cannot confirm the case happened in Tuva.

"It was not registered by the Ministry of Health, the Emergencies Ministry or any other official body [in the region].

"Most probably, it happened somewhere outside Tuva."