WATCH: Bear Stops Traffic to Break Open Bear-Proof Trash Can

by Amy Myers
Photo by Huseyin Demirci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Anyone that’s ever lived in bear country or run into one of these smart creatures at a campsite knows that “bear-proof” is a loose term at best. These days, it seems that humans and bears are sharing closer quarters than ever, so it’s no surprise that this hungry mama busted through the locked garbage can and found the rotten goodies inside.

The incident occurred on a moderately busy street in Alaska, likely when it was trash day for the bipedal residents of the region. Hungry and in need of a way to feed herself and her cubs, a mama bear took advantage of the situation and went after one of the trash cans Yogi-style.

Judging by how quickly the sow broke into the container, this probably wasn’t her first battle with a bear-proof trash can. Take a look.

Bear Cubs Patiently Wait While Mom Breaks into Trash Can

After knocking the trash can over and dragging it to the middle of the rain-soaked street, the bear pounced on the side of the container a few times, rolled it over and repeated the process. This jumping is actually a common method for bears when they’re taking down prey, although here, it almost looks like the sow’s trying to revive the trash can with chest compressions.

All the while, the sow’s cubs (at least two were in the frame) took notes from the sidelines, huddled under some trees beside a camping trailer. Finally, after one more flip and round of CPR, their mama was able to unlock the trash bin and begin tearing open the plastic-wrapped treats.

The second those little cub snouts picked up the scent of the trash, they tried to abandon their dry hiding spot to join the sow and indulge in a feast of banana peels and take-out containers. But mom was one step ahead of them. Instead of having her babies chow down in such an exposed area, she promptly scooped up the trash bag in her mouth and scampered away to a more forested refuge, and her two cubs happily followed.

What’s the Point of Locked Trash Cans If Animals Can Still Get in?

Listen, when you have a long winter ahead of you with little to no food available, you’ll do some crazy things for a meal … just watch any survival competition show. That’s what this family of bears was facing when they came across a trash can full of yummy, smelly items that fit the bill for their appetites.

That said, bear-proof trash cans, food containers and other precautions are still incredibly important to have, especially in neighborhoods with thriving bear populations close by. Not just to teach the wild animals proper etiquette but humans, too.

Even though these devices may not truly be bear-proof, they are bear-resistant. After all, most animals go after the easiest meal they can find. And if those trash cans require too much effort and energy, they may find food elsewhere.

On the flip side, bear containers also remind residents, campers and visitors that they are in the animals’ territory, too. We have to adapt our living styles just as much as they have to ours.