Three Black Bears Euthanized in Three Weeks in Colorado After Entering Unlocked Houses

by Lauren Boisvert
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Colorado has euthanized three black bears in as many weeks after they entered unlocked homes. On Sept. 17 and 18 in Steamboat Springs, one resident reported an “aggressive bear” broke into their home through a sliding glass door and ate food from the fridge and trash. They were not home, according to The Denver Channel, but reported that it came back that night.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife got another call the next morning that a bear had tried to climb through their window. It did not get in, but did some damage to the window screens. Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf said of the incidents, “a bear in hyperphagia that has no fear of entering a home in search of food is a dangerous bear that poses an immediate threat to humans.”

Hyperphagia is the stage of hibernation where bears excessively eat and drink to fatten themselves up for their big nap. According to Bear.org, they will consume 15,000 to 20,000 calories a day when in hyperphagia. This stage moves into the fall transition stage, where they prepare for the actual hibernation stage. They become lethargic and sleep nearly 22 hours a day.

The Steamboat Springs culprit was caught trying to enter a third home on Sept 18 and was also euthanized.

Steamboat Springs: A Hub of Activity

According to The Denver Channel, this is the third black bear to break into a home just in Steamboat Springs; near downtown Steamboat on Sept. 7, one broke into a home and trapped a family upstairs. Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the bear was aggressive and had a broken jaw, which could have been its cause for going after human food. It was euthanized for human safety after being caught.

Again, on Sept. 16, a homeowner called to report a black bear had entered their home and eaten food from their kitchen. They were not home; a trap was set, the bear caught, and eventually put down.

The Denver Channel reports that bear sightings are down statewide, but Routt County, where Steamboat Springs is situated, has seen a huge jump in sightings since 2020. From Aug. 1 to Sept 18, they received 72 reports, compared to only 20 last year.

Woman Lets Bear Have Her Car

On Sunday Sept. 19, a woman was greeted by a surprising sight in the front seat of her car; while she had gone inside to get a box of food, a black bear opened her car door and climbed inside.

The woman tried to close the door, but it won out, and she dropped her box and ran away. This is not really what you’re supposed to do when confronted with a bear; but, as some commenters shared, black bears are the most docile species. If you make yourself look big, and make a lot of noise, they’ll usually run away.

The entire incident was caught on what looks like a doorbell or security camera; the bear leaps out of the car while the woman drops her box and runs, but then it stops and sits down. It scratches an itch for a moment, and then goes to check out what look to be apples scattered on the driveway. To be honest it’s pretty cute, but probably not for the woman who had to deal with it.

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