Bear Caught Trying To Hibernate Under Family Home in Colorado

A bear tried to hibernate under a family's home in the town of Nederland, Colorado, according to a report.

Unbeknownst to husband and wife Michael and Judith Payne, a bear had been making preparations to stay below their house for the duration of the winter, Fox-affiliate KDVR reported.

The couple said they were only alerted to the bear's presence when a dog named Champ started barking at the animal.

"Then the bear came out and was right by the door and I was inches away from it except for the glass door, and I'm thinking 'this is a wild animal'," Judith Payne told KDVR.

The dog's barking eventually scared the bear and it retreated into a den it had been building four to five feet under the couple's home.

"I said, 'That's not good.' We've had bears wander through before, but none settling in," Michael Payne said.

"I didn't know. I don't think he'd been there that long. They are just now starting to settle in during the next couple of weeks for the winter, so I'm sure [the hole] was rather new."

As winter approaches, bears start preparing by eating and drinking as much as possible in order to put on weight.

They will also make a den, choosing from a range of locations, including in hollow trees or logs, under the roots of trees, in rock crevices, or in high trees in warmer climates.

Bears will stay in these dens over the course of their hibernation, during which their heartbeat and breathing slows down significantly, and their body temperature drops.

After the bear escaped into the hole, the Paynes contacted a Colorado Parks and Wildlife official, Sam Peterson, to help remove it from their property.

Peterson used ammonia for the job, the smell of which is an effective bear deterrent. Eventually, the bear beneath the Paynes' home couldn't stand the smell of the ammonia any longer and scurried out of the den and left the property.

The Paynes told KDVR they were thankful that their uninvited guest left sooner than expected, but said they understand that they are living in bear country and that incidents like these are not unheard of.

"We're encroaching on their habitat, really. We are their guests. These things are going to happen living up here," Michael Payne said.

Newsweek has contacted Colorado Parks and Wildlife for comment.

A brown bear
Stock image showing a brown bear looking out of its den during winter. A Colorado couple were surprised to find a bear preparing to hibernate beneath their home. iStock