Bears really encapsulate a full spectrum of demeanors and personalities. Some are vicious, aggressive, and downright mean like the two grizzlies recently captured on video in an epic brawl. Others are curious yet clumsy, like the little cub from Katmai National Park that tumbled down a waterfall while fishing for salmon. As fires swell, some cubs are finding themselves suddenly orphaned in the Pacific Northwest.
Other parts of Minnesota are seeing small towns overrun with sleuths of the creature migrating away from the fire. One California bear gained some serious notoriety recently for his manners or lack thereof.
Sonney’s BBQ Shack
A small diner based in Lake Tahoe, California recently got quite the scare when a bear approached the BBQ Shack and made itself comfortable at one of their tables. Diners actually captured the whole thing on video. It went down something like this. The large thought-to-be-female bear approaches the picnic table in the dark. She looks to be hungry and on a mission, bee-lining straight towards an empty seat set with a burger atop a plate.
The diners break out into blurts of expletives as they try to fend off the beast by waggling stools in its face. The intimidation tactic falls flat and the bear remains uninterrupted in her feast. She sticks around long enough to devour the burger that a scared family left behind, then makes a calm exit. Supposedly, she returned to her cubs nearby and they headed off back towards home together.
While the community hasn’t given her a name yet, apparently the bear’s appearances are only increasing in frequency. She’s been spotted at the BBQ Shack multiple times this summer season. She hasn’t shown any signs of aggression yet, but the fact that she’s a Mama bear makes her more prone to those types of behavior. Match that knowledge with her impressive physique, and it’s enough to intimidate anyone. It’s no wonder the family that originally inhabited the picnic area fled at the first sight of her.
The diner that provided the video shared it to his Reddit account and you can check it out here.
While it’s not uncommon for some species of wild animals to increasingly become more used to human interactions, the behaviors that come with it can sometimes be the product of illness. Actually, one such illness plaguing a small portion of the bear population is encephalitis. This illness involves inflammation of a bear’s brain and essentially gives them a new personality.
NBC reports that it typically causes more domestic “dog-like” behavior in bears as a result of lessened fear responses around humans. At least four bears in California have been discovered with the disease since March 2020. It explains why a sleuth of bears took to sandy beaches despite crowds of people at the California beaches in June.
It could also explain why Sonney’s Mama bear continues to come back so often. Hopefully, this is not the case.