WATCH: Bear Makes Itself at Home in California Backyard, Swimming in Pool and Raiding Outdoor Fridge

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Galen Rowell via Getty Images)

With more than 30,000 black bears within its borders, California is home to the largest black bear population of any contiguous state and the second-largest in the country. Its impressive bear population is exceeded only by Alaska, which houses upwards of 100,000 of these adorable predators.

Despite their intimidating size, black bears are typically harmless. As a whole, they’re timid, non-confrontational animals that generally avoid human contact at all costs. Occasionally, however, they do venture into backyards and even inside homes, if doors are left unlocked or open.

This is especially true during fall, as black bears enter hyperphagia in preparation for winter. In this stage, they consume up to 20,000 calories per day in an effort to build up their fat stores for the months of hibernation ahead.

The desperation for calories leads them to branch out from their typical food sources, including human foods in their diet as well. But one California bear took it a step further, helping himself not only to a local homeowner’s trash and outdoor mini fridge but their pool and jacuzzi as well.

California Residents Contact Animal Control About Hungry Black Bear

The frustrated residents contacted both animal control and the humane society. Both, however, explained to him that they live in the bear’s natural habitat. As such, there’s nothing they can do unless the animal becomes aggressive.

“You know, he just keeps coming back for the food source,” explained Dr. Alon Antebi, the owner of the home he now shares with the curious black bear. “So, Mindy, my fiancee, she’s the one that’s been at home all day today and videotaping it.”

“Yesterday, we were literally sitting in our kitchen, having morning coffee, and he came up right to the door,” Antebi continued. “Literally three feet away from our glass door. Our dog started barking, so he ran off, went into the pool, and then went out and jumped the fence.”

Finally relenting, Antebi and his fiancee named the bear Baloo after the iconic character from The Jungle Book. The couple has apparently accepted that he’s there to stay until winter sets in, at which point he’ll hopefully find a safe place away from their home to hibernate.

Sadly, many bears who become too accustomed to human food are euthanized. Over time, they lose their fear of humans, growing so bold that they become a threat. At this point, there’s no going back and, unfortunately, little choice but to kill them.

To prevent this from happening, avoid leaving trash out overnight if possible unless it’s in a bear-proof container. If a bear enters your property, keep your distance but scare it away by making loud noises. Electric fencing, unwelcome mats, and scent deterrents like ammonia are also excellent for teaching bears that your home isn’t bear-friendly.