(SALT LAKE CITY) — A young, female black bear has been tranquilized and released into the wild after it broke into a Utah man’s house.
Spencer Ball, a cabin owner in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, was having breakfast in his living room on Monday when he spotted the unwelcome guest licking a hummingbird feeder on his porch, ABC News affiliate KTRK reported.
After smelling the bucket full of peanuts in Ball’s living room, the bear pushed open a lever doorknob and walked straight into the living room, KTRK reported.
“Bears’ sense of smell is very acute,” said Scott Root, outreach manager at Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “Doors are not completely airtight and bears can smell what is inside the house.”
Ball added, “[The bear] looked around everywhere. It was aware I was here.”
He slowly retreated upstairs, dialed 911, grabbed a pistol and barricaded himself in a bedroom.
A few hours later, biologists from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources arrived and tranquilized the bear. The biologists released it into the Spanish Fork Canyon, away from cabins, campers and livestock.
“This was a very lucky situation,” Root said. “The bear didn’t do anything aggressive.”
Ball, who had been living in his cabin since 1991, said he had never seen a bear near his home before. According to Root, house break-ins by bears are very rare.
“This is a habitat for bears, but they tend to stay away from humans,” Root said. “The bears that visit houses tend to be the younger bears who are living on their own for the first year.”
Root encourages local residents to clean up their grills, trash cans and bird feeders.
“It is usually the odor of food that attracts them,” he said.
“If you encounter a bear in the woods, avoid direct eye contact with it, raise your arm to appear larger and make a lot of noises,” Root added. “Bears are not used to loud noises, and they tend to run away.
“Wild animals are unpredictable, so always stay alert,” Root said. “Bring a bear spray with you if you can.”
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