For months, the tenant, who chose to remain anonymous, had heard occasional noises like humming under the floorboards, but hadn’t thought about it.
They asked the neighbors if they heard the same noise, but all was quiet on their side.
Finally this week, more rumblings led them to believe that these noises could have been a bear. That’s when they called the BEAR League, a non-profit group that works to protect bears in the area, to check on the house.
What they discovered below were five black bears: a mother and four cubs.
BEAR League executive director Ann Bryant told CNN on Thursday that the bears have likely been hibernating under the house since early December.
The noises the tenant heard were likely the bears snoring, nursing or rolling, Bryant said. “Bears don’t hibernate deeply, they go into a lighter state of torpor,” she added.
When the BEAR League was called home on Monday, the mama bear was behind an opening under the house. She was already leaving but stopped to sit on the other side of the yard.
This led officials to believe she might have had cubs still under the house and was waiting for them to come out safely.
After turning on a flashlight further into the area, officials saw a pair of eyes return to them in the far corner of the house.
They figured the cubs were yearlings and began discussing tactics to get them out from under them.
Eventually, the cubs came out on their own and met their mother.
“All of a sudden, one cub, two cubs, three cubs, four cubs come out,” Bryant said, “When the resident called, he hadn’t realized there were so many bears under the home.”
Fortunately, the bears left no damage to the house. In other cases, owners might not be so lucky.
In October, a California woman was mauled by another black bear that broke into her cabin north of Lake Tahoe. And a bear weighing 500 pounds named Hank the Tank has been roaming the streets of the Tahoe Keys area of South Lake Tahoe for months, leaving locals worried.
Bryant says it’s not uncommon for furry creatures to take up residence in these areas under homes during the winter months. In this case, the mama bear built a nest and the five slept most of the time.
Since waking up, the group has been spotted in the South Lake Tahoe area.
On Wednesday evening, they returned to the same house in search of their old shelter, which has since been protected by an electric protector which, if used, would administer a small shock to ward off the bears.
Bryant made sure that this shock doesn’t hurt or hurt the bears in any way, it just scares them away.
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