WATCH: Huge Black Bear Falls Through Thin Ice in Intense Video

by Jon D. B.

Watch as visitors to an Airbnb on Lake Tahoe receive a visitor of their own when this black bear decides to test out the frozen water.

Walking on frozen ice is never advisable in California, even for a bear. In the footage made public online, a visiting family watches as the intense scene unfolds. An enormous bear approaches the back yard of their rental property, stepping out onto the frozen lake.

While the uploader’s description makes no mention of species, this wildlife technician and writer sees a black bear. The distinct tan coloration of the bear’s muzzle, alongside the lack of a large signature “hump” on the shoulders that both grizzly and brown bears possess, identifies it as such.

The strongest identifier, however, is also the most definite: there are currently no species of brown/grizzly bears living in California. The state hosts two bear species still, but both are black bear subspecies. Seeing his coat shine brown in the sun, alongside his large stature, though, would make him easily mistakable for a grizzly to tourists.

Regardless, this bear is determined to make it across the ice. Whether curious, as black bears are, or looking for a meal in one of the mallard drakes atop the ice, he’s not giving up.

Suddenly, the distinct, incredible sound of ice cracking begins beneath him. The bear pauses, but still doesn’t give up his December voyage out onto the frozen lake. As the otherworldly sound of the ice snapping intensifies, the bear’s weight eventually becomes too much – the ice collapsing beneath him. What follows is several minutes of true, hardy resilience as the bear fights free of the frigid water. And don’t worry, a wintering black bear is well equipped to deal with such cold.

Watch: Black Bear Crashes Through Frozen Lake, Breaks Free

“My family was invited to celebrate one of my good friend’s birthday in Lake Tahoe. She rented the house through Airbnb and this is their backyard where we witness this event,” says the uploader of the footage. “On the original video you will hear when the ice started to crack. These whole scenario lasted 4 mins. My friends tried to call Animal Control, but before they were able to speak to someone, the bear was able to pull himself up.”

Imagine renting a Lake Tahoe Airbnb for a birthday, only to witness this unfolding. Black bears are remarkable, indeed.

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