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With approximately 1,500 black bears in the Smoky Mountains, it’s not surprising that some find their way out of the national park and into Gatlinburg. Whether it’s walking through downtown Gatlinburg or outside of a cabin, people have caught numerous black bear sightings on camera. We’ve gathered videos of some of the most adorable Gatlinburg black bear sightings to share with you!
1. Black Bear Pays a Visit to the Donut Friar
Donut worry, this black bear just wanted some of the delicious donuts from the Donut Friar! Apparently human visitors aren’t the only ones who love starting their mornings off with a treat from the Donut Friar. Recently, a black bear was caught on camera wandering around the popular shop about 5 a.m. looking for some breakfast! The video shows the bear lingering outside of the Donut Friar in the Village, but he wasn’t lucky enough to get a taste of the delicious donuts.
2. Young Black Bear Breaks into Cabin
One of the most recent black bear sightings in Gatlinburg was of a young bear who entered an occupied cabin! The bear gave the guests quite a fright as it broke through the door and started rummaging around the kitchen for food. Eventually, the bear and its 3 friends outside on the porch fled, but not before getting away with some snacks to satisfy its sweet tooth. The bears ended up taking about 5 pounds of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, a pound of M&M’s, and 2 pounds of Sour Patch Kids. They also got away with 2 bags of potato chips, 2 diet cokes and 2 beers. You can learn about the encounter and see pictures of the bear inside the cabin in the video!
3. Black Bear Cubs Swim in Hot Tub
You may have seen this video before, but it’s definitely one of our favorite Gatlinburg black bear sightings! Some black bear cubs decided to go for a swim in a cabin’s hot tub. The two bear cubs climbed into the hot tub to have some fun in the water. The video shows the cubs making their way into the hot tub and splashing around. After their adventure in the hot tub, you can see them cuddling with their mom! If you listen closely to the video, you can even hear one of the cubs purring!
4. Black Bear Cubs Lock Themselves in Van
Have you seen the video of the cubs who locked themselves in a van and had to honk for help? That’s another one of our favorites! The video shows two bear cubs inside of a van searching for a way out, while one continuously honks the horn. The owner of the van said he heard the horn honking for 20 minutes before he went outside to investigate. He carefully opened the back door of the van and allowed the bears to escape back into the woods.
5. Black Bear Plays with Pumpkin in Gatlinburg
You’re not the only ones who love fall in Gatlinburg — black bears do too! One of our favorite videos of a black bear in Gatlinburg shows one playing with a pumpkin in The Village. After observing the scarecrow decoration outside of Master’s Editions Village Gallery, the black bear took a bite out of the pumpkin at the display! The video captures the black bear eating and playing with the pumpkin.
6. Mama Bear and Cubs Cross the Road
Of course, the best place to actually spot a black bear in the Smoky Mountains is in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the video of the mama bear crossing the road in Cades Cove with her 4 cubs. You’ll love watching the cubs follow their mother across the road. This same black bear family was spotted numerous times throughout the Smokies afterward. The video ended up going viral!
Black Bear Safety Tips
Keep a safe distance from the bear – The most important safety tip to keep in mind is to keep a safe distance between you and the bear. The National Park Service requires visitors to stay at least 50 yards away from black bears at all times. You should apply this rule to when you see bears out and about in Gatlinburg as well.
Don’t feed the bear – Bears who pay a visit to cabins or try to break into cars are often just looking for food. It’s important never to feed a bear or leave food and trash sitting around outside. Bears who have been fed will lose their fear of humans, and their behavior becomes unpredictable. Many times the bears you see trying to get into cabins are ones who have been fed by humans before or have found a food source at a cabin before.
Keep all doors locked – Make sure all cabin doors and car doors are locked at all times. Black bears are more likely to enter a cabin or climb into a vehicle if the doors are unlocked and windows rolled down. For extra precaution, don’t leave any food or food wrappers in your car or laying around your cabin. Throw any trash away in a bear proof trash can.
Do you hope to have a Gatlinburg black bear sighting while you’re in the Smoky Mountains? Check out our post about where and when you can safely view wildlife.