North Carolina Family Discovers Black Bear Exiting Hibernation Underneath Their Home

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Spring is just around the corner, and as the weather warms up and the days get longer, signs of new life are starting to emerge. In my area, I’ve noticed buds appearing on the tree branches, a sure sign that spring is on its way. It’s not just the plants and flowers that are coming back to life though, but also the bears that have been hibernating during the winter months. The world is slowly awakening from its slumber, and it’s an exciting time to witness the transition from winter to spring.

In North Carolina, a family received quite a shock when a black bear emerged from underneath their home, where it had been hibernating throughout the winter. This unexpected encounter proves that not all awakening bears emerge from secluded caves in the woods.

I was just as amazed as the hosts of the Today Show when I saw this massive black bear effortlessly squeezing through a small vent and taking a long nap inside. It was like witnessing a magical performance. What’s even more astonishing is that the bear had just emerged from months of hibernation. How was it able to fit back through the vent after gaining weight during the winter?

Watch this incredible video of a black bear family having a night out in downtown Asheville.

North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission officials have noticed an increase in black bears hibernating under decks, crawl spaces, and backyard brush piles. This isn’t a problem exclusive to North Carolina; it can occur anywhere in the country where black bears reside. In fact, just last November, a black bear was “evicted” from underneath a preschool in Lake Tahoe, on the opposite side of the country. During the winter, bears require a place to sleep and must make do with whatever shelter they can find, even if it means getting dangerously close to human dwellings.

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What to Do If You Think a Black Bear’s Hibernating on Your Property

If you suspect or know that a black bear is hibernating somewhere on your property, what should you do? Surprisingly, wildlife experts typically advise leaving them alone whenever possible. This suggestion is made both for your own safety and because, as mentioned in the video, the bear may have given birth to baby cubs while in hibernation!

The NCWRC experts have firsthand experience dealing with a situation like this. In a recent press release about bear dens, BearWise coordinator Ashley Hobbs mentioned how they were called by homeowners who heard bear cubs crying under their deck.

Hobbs, after conversing with the homeowners and examining the den site, advised that the most suitable approach would be to minimize any disruption around the deck area until the bear emerges with her cubs in the spring. This precautionary measure aims to prevent any disturbance to the mother bear and the potential risk of leaving the cubs orphaned.

If you find yourself in a situation where it is impossible to avoid disturbing a bear den on your property, it is crucial to seek assistance and guidance from wildlife experts. BearWise, an organization dedicated to promoting safe coexistence between humans and bears, offers valuable resources. They maintain an online list of wildlife agencies that you can reach out to for professional help and advice.

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