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A black bear recently paid a trip to one of our favorite restaurants in Gatlinburg! One employee was sitting outside of The Peddler when another employee came running over and jumped up on the ledge as a bear followed behind him. Watch the video of the black bear encounter at The Peddler in Gatlinburg below and learn how you can stay safe around bears in the Smoky Mountains.
Black Bear at The Peddler in Gatlinburg
On Sept. 24, 2019, two employees had a close encounter with a Smoky Mountain black bear. The video shared by WVLT shows the two men’s experience with the bear. The bear followed one of the employees around the corner of the The Peddler in Gatlinburg before going on his way. The video shows one of the employees running around the corner before jumping up on the ledge where the other employee is sitting to try to get away.
While your first instinct when you see a bear might be to run, it’s important not to. Bears can move as fast as a racehorse both uphill and downhill, and if they want to catch you, they can. Running can trigger their natural instinct to chase you. The safest thing the employee could have done was to slowly move away sideways. This allows you to keep an eye on the bear at all times and is also considered a non threatening movement.
More Smoky Mountain Black Bear Tips
The Smoky Mountains are the black bears’ home, so it’s not uncommon to spot one when you visit the area. While you’re more likely to see a bear in the national park than around Gatlinburg, it’s always important to be prepared and know what to do if you see one! The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency offered guidelines on how we can coexist with the bears. Here are their suggestions:
- Never feed or approach the bears
- Change your route if you see a bear in the distance
- Keep all food stored away, especially when camping
- If approached by a bear, stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger, yell and throw rocks until it leaves the area
- Make your presence known by yelling and shouting in an attempt to scare it away
TWRA also listed some helpful things to know about black bears. They want people to keep in mind that black bears are usually tolerant of humans, but they should always be treated as wild animals whose behaviors are unpredictable. Also important to note is that startled black bears will confront intruders by turning sideways, making woofing sounds, salivate, and lay their ears back and slap the ground. These are all warnings that you should leave the area.
While seeing a black bear in the Smoky Mountains can be exciting, practicing these safety tips will protect the safety of both you and the black bear.
Other Smoky Mountain Black Bear Encounters
This particular wasn’t the only black bear who has paid a visit to a Gatlinburg restaurant. Last year, one appeared on the patio of Howard’s steakhouse and ate some pizza that was leftover on someone’s plate. Here are some other recent Smoky Mountain black bear encounters:
Family of bears break into vans: We know you’ve heard about the family of black bears who broke into not one but TWO vans and stole some PopTarts and other snacks! This is a great reminder for visitors to keep their car doors locked at all times.
Black bear tries to climb in car: Have you seen the video of the black bear trying to climb into a car in Gatlinburg? The bear tried pulling on the door and the window that was cracked open, even climbing on the roof to try to get in! In the end, the bear ended up giving up and walking away.
Bears go for a splash in a hot tub: Two bear cubs just wanted to have some fun when they visited a Gatlinburg cabin! The two bears climbed into the cabin’s hot tub, splashing around for a bit before leaving to cuddle with their mother.
Safely See Smoky Mountain Black Bears and Other Wildlife
Seeing wildlife in the Smoky Mountains is one of the most exciting things to do when it’s done in a safe way. To find out how you can safely view Smoky Mountain black bears and wildlife during your vacation, read our blog, “Where and When to Spot Your Favorite Smoky Mountain Wildlife.”