WATCH: Napping Man Woken Up by Nosy Black Bear’s Paw

by Craig Garrett
A Black Bear (Ursus americanus) cub stands on a residential deck looking at the camera - stock photo

A man in Massachusetts got the shock of his life when a black bear approached him while he was taking a nap by the pool. The whole incident was caught on a Ring camera. The surveillance footage showed the black bear wondering into the backyard with a pool in Greenfield. The man was taking a nap on the sunlounger, completely unaware of the bear’s close proximity.

The bear walks investigating the pool, prowling and sniffing at the water. Still, the man on the sun lounger remains unaware of what’s happening just a few feet away from him. The bear approaches the man, who doesn’t move. The bear then slowly extends a paw to touch the man’s foot. The man woke up with a start, to see a bear running away in fear. After the bear was out of sight, the man sat up and picked his phone off the ground as if to take a picture. The viral video from 2020 was shared on the Today Show’s YouTube channel.

Although black bears have been known to attack people on rare occasions, they are not naturally aggressive and are often scared of humans. In the video, as soon as the man wakes up, the bear immediately appears ready to leave. The number of black bears in Massachusetts has been steadily increasing; current estimates put the population around 4,500.

Experts weigh in on what to do in a bear encounter

The risk of encountering a bear is highest in the spring and summer, around dawn and dusk. To avoid confrontations with bears, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife recommends removing anything that might attract them to your property or neighborhood. Wild animals are naturally attracted to residential areas for a number of reasons, the most common being garbage and bird feeders. Both of these attract bears as they provide an easy source of food.

The National Park Service advises not to drop your pack and not to give the black bear any food. They also stress not to make direct eye contact. Another thing they suggest is to travel in groups. Finally, the NPS urges folks not to climb trees to escape wild animals. Black bears in particular are terrific climbers.

The NPS stresses that bear attacks are extremely rare. Most bears mind their own business if not antagonized by humans. However, they do have some tips in the event of an attack. Interestingly, they strongly urge people to not play dead with black bears. If you’re stuck in a bear attack, the NPS says the best bet is to get out of there as quickly as possible. They urge you to find a car or shelter if you can. If you aren’t able to flee, try to defend yourself with whatever is accessible. The NPS says to focus your blows on the bear’s face and muzzle.