It can be hard to suppress the temptation to bounce on your neighbor’s trampoline. And that was also the case for this black bear in Wappingers Falls, New York, after it sneaked into a resident’s garden on March 21.
Anna Cory-Watson was looking out of her window on what was otherwise a normal Tuesday when she caught sight of the furry trespasser.
“I was elated when I saw the bear outside my window,” Cory-Watson told Newsweek. “I knew I was seeing something I was unlikely to ever see again. And that was before it started playing with the soccer ball. Everything that unfolded in front of me felt surreal.”
Cory-Watson reached for her phone and shared the footage to social media. In the video, the bear can be seen wrestling with a soccer ball, tangling itself up in the garden hose, and testing out the trampoline.
“The bear played in our yard for a couple of hours,” Cory-Watson said. “At one point we thought it had taken off but when it came back, it got in the trampoline.”
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation previously estimated that at least 6,000 to 8,000 black bears reside in the state. “I know black bears have been seen in the area,” Cory-Watson said. “Apparently they travel quite a lot, so this might be the same black bear that was seeing a mile down the road on a farm recently.
“Last summer there were a number of bear sightings. I never saw one, but our neighbors reported a bear in their yard and we saw some shockingly large poop.”
The average male black bear weighs roughly 300 pounds, although they can weigh up to 660 pounds, according to estimates by the International Association for Bear Research and Management. The females tend to be smaller, with the average adult female weighing around 170 pounds.
Black bears are curious and spend a lot of their time exploring for food. This is what often brings them into close contact with humans. They are also intelligent and will learn from experience—if a certain activity, like breaking into someone’s garden, yields food, they will repeat that activity.
“I don’t think it will come back,” Cory-Watson said. “It didn’t find any food and from what I’ve heard that’s the main motivation for bears returning to the same property. But at the same time I half expect to look out the window and see it sitting on the tire swing.”
If you ever see a bear, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation advised to leave slowly and stay calm. Never approach or corner a bear, and do not run away from it. If a bear approaches you, speak in a loud calm voice and back away slowly.
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