Family of bears cools off in California pool: ‘They can take a dip whenever’

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As southern California warms up this month, everyone is looking to soak up the sun while staying cool – even the bears.

A family of bears in Monrovia, about 30 minutes from Los Angeles, took a stroll through a backyard on Monday afternoon, exploring their surroundings and investigating a pool. Video captured by the home’s occupant Rick Martinez showed a bear and her cubs roaming the property and scratching a tree. At one point the adult bear hopped into the pool and went for a swim while two tiny cubs watched on curiously.

“They are just doing their own thing,” Martinez said.

Martinez and his partner, Brian Gordon, frequently see bears on the property, which is at the edge of a national forest. They first spotted them shortly after they moved in to the home in November 2022 and they have come back regularly.

The couple were initially nervous, Martinez said. “But then we realized they were passing through. They stay away from us.” The bears avoid humans, he said, and will turn around if they spot anyone, so they give the animals space and watch them from inside the house or via cameras.

They explore the property, sometimes going into the pool or playing with floats. Martinez said they have had to replaced about five pool floats since they moved in.

On Monday around noon, Martinez spotted the bear family in the backyard.

“I just happened to be home by chance. I ran home to grab something and while I was eating my lunch I heard a noise,” Martinez said. One of the cubs had tried to walk through a closed glass door.

It was the first time Martinez had seen cubs that young, he said. The other cubs who have visited the property are normally twice that size.

Martinez said that he enjoys the bear visits and that the couple takes precautions, like not leaving trash outside and disposing of garbage away from the home.

He expects they will see more families crossing through their yard with mating season around the corner.

“This is their land,” Martinez said. “They are used to coming through here. We have healthy boundaries with them. If they’re outside we stay inside. We let them do their thing, we admire them.

“They are welcome here – they can come take a dip whenever.”

This article by Dani Anguiano was first published by The Guardian on 7 May 2024. Lead Image: Family of bears takes a dip in pool at southern California home – video.

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