For the 12 years, she’s lived in Virginia, Regina Keller has enjoyed taking photos of the animals that come snooping around in her backyard. Her home backs up to an exit section of the George Washington National Forest in Fort Valley, and she loves seeing the furry guests who come sprinting across her backyard. There’s always a deer, fox, squirrel, or bear to be seen around the homes in those remote parts.
Cool water on a hot day is like a balm to the soul, and this big guy knows it.
On Saturday, July 19, Regina was watering her garden when this huge black bear strutted onto her lawn from the forest. He must have been so hot because he made a beeline for a kiddie’s pool in the corner. All it took was one dip of his paw into the water and he flopped his gigantic body right in. It didn’t matter that he was almost twice the size of the pool. He was hot, and the tiny pool was available.
Keller let him sleep for an hour
Regina got her camera and took photos of her esteemed guest relaxing as if nothing else mattered in those moments.
“This was the biggest one I’ve seen this year,” Keller told CNN . A closer look at the bear as it wandered around made Keller realize that he’d been there before. It had been almost two years since she last saw him, but she recognized his massive size and coloration.
“He wandered around the backyard… and went over by the pool and dipped his big paw in the water… and then climbed right in and laid down. He seemed so content and refreshed,” Keller said.
The bear got comfortable and fell asleep, napping for almost an hour in the cool water. It was a relaxing scene for Keller herself and she settled into a seat to watch him from a safe distance. He slept until Keller’s grandchildren pulled into the driveway. The sound of the kids’ dogs barking woke the big guy up and he dashed into the forest.
“It was neat to see and neat that I had my camera with me to capture it,” she said.
Keller’s photos went viral immediately, with so many people wishing they could relax mindlessly lie the bear.
A comment on WFSB’s Facebook page read: “This is awesome, I would have let him be. Not going near him, and watch from a safe distance. From what I understand they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. He was hot and needed a nap.”
Another user wrote: “While this is very cute, it makes me sad…. these animals are being pushed out of their habitats by the gross amount of houses & buildings being put up… this bear should be cooling off in a quiet stream in the woods somewhere 😔 This is how they end up getting shot… some people look at them as being a nuisance.”
While habitat loss and climate change are the foremost reasons why bears are wandering into people’s homes, the availability of food is another major factor. Bears are adapting to urban life in cities where food is readily available in dumpsters, and city bears tend to weigh more and be less active than bears living in the wild .
They may also alter their behaviors to blend into the human environment and the “urban couch potato lifestyle”. This is why we often come across stories of bears drinking cartons of beer and passing out, or one of the furry giants relaxing like a human on a discarded sofa.
- Lauren Johnson. Huge black bear spotted relaxing in a pool is one big summer mood. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/25/us/huge-black-bear-in-pool-trnd/index.html Retrieved 27-07-2020
- John Roach. Black Bears Adapting to City Living, Study Says. National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2003/11/black-bears-adapt-cities-animals/ Retrieved 27-07-2020