Black Bear Cubs Break Into North Carolina Nursing Home

On Wednesday, a pair of animals paid a visit to the residents of a North Carolina nursing home, reportedly "bringing smiles to everyone," according to WLOS-TV.

From that description, you might expect them to be therapy dogs or police horses. But the animals weren't dogs or horses. They weren't even domesticated, in fact: they were wild black bear cubs.

In cell phone footage taken by witness Cindy Brown, the two cubs appear at the entrance of Accordius Health in Asheville, NC. There is no sign of their mother. One rears up on its hind legs to maneuver the door open, hugging the frame and gnawing at the pull handle, as the other wanders into the lobby.

The bolder of the two sniffs curiously at the air, apparently intrigued by its strange new surroundings. But its stay is brief. Within seconds, it turns around and runs back out. That's when a third bear, presumably the cubs' mother, lumbers around the side of the building and across the street.

A group of young black bears made a special stop at an Asheville nursing home, even letting themselves in through the front door!WATCH the full video...

The cubs then begin wrestling right outside the door, swiping at each other with their sizable paws. One eventually appears to admit defeat and runs off in the direction of the third bear. The victor begins to fiddle with the door again, eventually managing to open it for a second time.

"Come on, y'all, hurry up," a witness coaxes laughingly, "they've got snacks and old people."

The cub almost enters, but then thinks better of it and heads back across the street to reunite with its family. The third bear can then be seen making an impressive leap onto a brick wall on the other side of the street.

Black bears are the only species of bear native to the Eastern United States, though they were almost wiped out by a combination of overhunting, habitat loss, and ecological disaster in the mid-1900s, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Thanks to successful conservation efforts, they now occupy more than half of the state's total land area.

While black bears prefer to reside in woodland or swampland, where prey and shelter are abundant, some have acclimated to urban or suburban neighborhoods. Mothers and cubs typically emerge from hibernation in March or April, potentially explaining the incident at the nursing home.

In March, the commission issued a statement that asked North Carolinians to "keep a safe distance" from bears as the weather heats up, according to Vanguard News Nigeria. Though typically shy and retiring, black bears, like all bears, are capable of injuring or killing human beings if they feel threatened.

black bear cub in tree
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