Hungry Bear Filmed Having a Gourd Time Munching on Giant Pumpkin in Gatlinburg
While the brown bears at Katmai National Park in Alaska were busy battling it out in the annual Fat Bear Week tournament, one of their less Tennessee fearsome cousins was getting in the Halloween spirit.
Jeff and Christy Mabe were visiting Gatlinburg recently when they came across a black bear snacking on a pumpkin on the side of the road. As a small crowd gathered, the couple took a video (below) of the animal doing its best to break through the hard skin of the giant gourd.
Eventually, the pumpkin rolls away from the bear into the street where it sits blocking traffic. Unconcerned with the motorists, the bear gives up on the pumpkin and walks away in search of a less complicated meal.
Bear sightings are common in the Tennessee city that serves as a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. According to Gatlinburg.com, approximately 1,500 bears live in the park—that's roughly two bears per square mile.
Bears are especially active during the fall as they bulk up for hibernation. Hyperphagia—their annual power-eating marathon—often leads them to search for food outside of their normal ranges. During this phase, bears must consume 10 times as many calories as they need during the spring and summer, which means finding 20,000 calories a day or more.
Remember that all bears are wild animals and can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. If you do encounter a black bear, slowly back away while making loud noises.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency suggests keeping at least 50 yards—half a football field—between you and the bear. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior in any way, you are too close.
For more information, visit BearWise.org.