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The Three Little Bears



Just last week, as we were setting up The Lazy Bear Escape for new guests, we were thrilled with a visit from a mama bear and her two cubs. This was the closest encounter we have had so far at the cabin, and we are so thankful to have captured it on video.


But with this in mind, I thought it would be wise to give our guests some information about these beautiful creatures who freely roam around our property.


 

Our Smoky Bear


The wild, natural surroundings of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States where these beautiful black bears can live and roam. They inhabit all elevations, and though populations are variable, it is estimated that roughly 1,500 bears live in the park and its surroundings.


You will find that the bears are most active during the early morning and late evening hours in spring and summer. July is the month when they mate, and both female and male bears may have more than one mate during the summer.


As the seasons change, and the temperatures drop, they choose a 'denning site,' which usually consists of hollow stumps, tree cavities, or wherever there is shelter. Our Smoky bears are not typical in this as they often den high above the ground in standing hollow trees. The common belief that they sleep all winter long (probably due to the many cartoons all of us have watched over the years) is not accurate; they do have long periods of sleep, but may leave their shelter for short periods of time if they are disturbed, or during brief warming trends.


During the mama bear's winter sleep, she may have anywhere between one to four cubs—usually in late January or early February. Baby bears weigh eight ounces at birth!! The moms usually come out of their winter homes in late March or early April, and their babies will stay with them for about 18 months, or until she mates again.

Just like us, bears are omnivores. Their diet mainly consists of plant materials such as berries and nuts. Insects and animal carrion offer valuable sources of protein. They can live 12-15 years or more, but the life expectancy is cut in half of the ones who have had access to human foods and garbage.



Lazy Bear Visits


With these big creatures roaming around our cabin in search of food, it is necessary to offer tips to protect not only the bears, but also you and your property.


Recently we stayed at the cabin, and when we woke up, we found that a bear had tried to get into our truck! They're extremely smart! They do know how to open car doors, especially if they smell any sort of delicious food inside of them.

We were warned by neighbors to always be careful to bring all food inside when coming back from a day or night on the town, and then to make sure every door is locked.




Lazy Bear Trash


Because our beautiful black bears are very capable of sniffing out and extracting food from vehicles and containers, and because we care about their health and lifespan (and yours, ha), we have installed a "bear cage" for trash at the entrance of our driveway.


Our cage is marked "238," and we encourage our guests to secure all trash inside of it. The cage is protected by a heavy duty carabiner clasp which the bears have yet to figure out how to open.



Encounters with the Bears


Of course, these bears are wild, and their behavior is unpredictable. Because of this, it is best not to allow your young children to play outside unsupervised. And if you do happen to come close to them, here is what is recommended from the experts if you do see them:


  • Remain watchful

  • Do not approach it

  • Do not allow the bear to approach you.

  • If the bear is at a distance, feeding or walking by, and notices you but continues its natural behavior, no action is needed on your part. Proceed while continuing to observe the bear.

  • If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.) you are too close.

  • Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don't run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same.



The Lazy Bear Bottom Line


As hosts, we are hoping to educate and inform current and future guests about God's creatures whom we share space with. Bears are extremely fast, very smart, and quite clever when it comes to finding and eating your food, so the fewer close encounters you have, the better. However, if you do happen to catch any photos or videos of bears at or around our cabin, we would love to post them on this site. Please email to crazyjmom@mac.com.



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