Mama bear and cubs enjoy quick swim in California backyard

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) – A couple in Los Angeles found some unexpected guests enjoying their backyard amenities last month, when a mama bear and her two cubs were spotted taking a dip in their pool.

Homeowners Jon and Karen Von Gunten say the bears came out of Rowley Canyon, which connects to the Angeles National Forest, in search of a place to cool down in the scorching temperatures.

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The couple captured a video of the bears taking a quick dip in the pool and enjoying some fun play time, before heading back into the forest.

“I’m just glad I wasn’t in the pool,” said one of the homeowners while recording the video.

  • Mama bear and cubs enjoy quick swim in Tujunga backyard (Jon and Karen Von Gunten)
  • Mama bear and cubs enjoy quick swim in Tujunga backyard (Jon and Karen Von Gunten)
  • Mama bear and cubs enjoy quick swim in Tujunga backyard (Jon and Karen Von Gunten)
  • Mama bear and cubs enjoy quick swim in Tujunga backyard (Jon and Karen Von Gunten)

Throughout the summer months, bear sightings and encounters have become more frequent in Southern California.

In July, a similar video in the same city showed a mother bear and a cub splashing around in a hot tub.

Also in July, a viewer shared video to Nexstar’s KTLA of another bear splashing around in a backyard pool. The viewer said it happened around 10:45 a.m. at a short-term rental in Azusa.

In the nearby city of Burbank, another bear was seen lounging in a backyard hot tub. Video shared by the Burbank Police Department shows the bear sitting upright in the hot tub, looking almost like a guest of the homeowner.

“I was upstairs and I heard a lot of commotion and some beeping sounds,” homeowner Diana Lewis said. “And here he was, just having fun in the jacuzzi. Very happy.”

That bear eventually left the hot tub and scaled a tree where it remained for several hours before finally coming down and returning into the Verdugo Mountains.

A bear sits in a jacuzzi in Burbank as police watch from afar in this video shared by the Burbank Police Department on July 28, 2023.

Lewis said she was fine letting the bear cool down in her hot tub, but officials are warning the public that bears, however cute they may appear, should never be fed or approached, and that it’s best that humans and bears keep a safe distance from one another.

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As temperatures continue to soar, wildlife officials say bear encounters are more likely to occur.

To reduce the likelihood of having a bad encounter with a bear, the National Park Service has a list of tips and tricks to avoid encounters, as well as what to do if you come face-to-face with one of the apex predators.

Some of those tips include talking calmly to the bear so it knows you’re human and not prey, getting as big as possible, and remaining calm. You should never run from a bear, climb a tree to escape, or allow the animal to eat your food. More tips, including when to play dead and when to fight back, can be found at the National Park Service website.

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