GATLINBURG, TN (WVLT/Gray News) - It’s that time of year when bear sightings increase for people who live near their habitat. While most bear sightings are not unusual in the Smokies, this one definitely is - it’s into self-care.
Photos shared with WVLT by Hannah Strickland show the cub taking some time to rest and relax in a hot tub.
Strickland said she rented a cabin with her boyfriend in Gatlinburg when they saw three bear cubs just outside. One of the cubs jumped into the hot tub for a quick soak.
Once the bears cleared out, Strickland and her boyfriend covered up the tub. Their new friends didn't make a return visit after that.
"It was so neat to see and they're adorable up close! It's also our first trip together so we will not forget it!" she said.
Even if the moment was brief, it's a reminder to all of that we can always fit in time to pamper ourselves.
And this isn't the only bear sighting recently.
Here's what you should do if you encounter a bear according to Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency:
- Never feed or approach bears!
- If a bear approaches you in the wild, it is probably trying to assess your presence.
- If you see a black bear from a distance, alter your route of travel, return the way you came, or wait until it leaves the area.
- Make your presence known by yelling and shouting at the bear in an attempt to scare it away.
- If approached by a bear, stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger, yell and throw rocks or sticks until it leaves the area.
- When camping in bear country, keep all food stored in a vehicle or in a suspended bear-proof box and away from tents.
- Never run from a black bear! This will often trigger its natural instinct to chase.
- If a black bear attacks, fight back aggressively and do not play dead!
- Use pepper spray, sticks, rocks, or anything you can find to defend yourself.
If cornered or threatened, bears may slap the ground, "pop" their jaws or "huff" as a warning. If you see these behaviors, you are too close! Slowly back away while facing the bear at all times.