LAKE MARY, Fla. (WFLA) — A three-legged bear known locally as Tripod was caught on camera breaking into a home in Lake Mary, Florida over the weekend and helping itself to some snacks and adult beverages.
Josaury Faneite-Diglio found out she had a thirsty, uninvited guest when she got a security camera notification around 5 p.m. Sunday, she told local news station WESH.
The home wasn’t unoccupied when the bear arrived, however – Faneite-Diglio’s son, 13-year-old Joseph Diglio and the family dog, Bruno, were both inside. Diglio said that he realized there was a bear in the home after he heard Bruno barking and then watched Tripod rip a makeshift door into the screen surrounding the enclosed patio.
“Oh my God. I’ve never been this close to a bear,” Diglio can be heard saying in the video.
Tripod then made himself at home and lumbered over to the family’s mini fridge.
“Once I saw him open the fridge, I got scared that he could open the doors to the houses,” Diglio said.
Faneite-Diglio told the news station that Tripod had some fish food that was left next to their fish tank and then proceeded to the bar.
“He took three White Claws, drank, and left very happy. His favorite flavor is mango and strawberry,” Faneite-Diglio told WESH.
In case you’re wondering if the bear was in search of a little booze, not just a snack, experts with the Bear Management Program at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) don’t think so.
“Bears will test foods and bite cans to drink what’s inside,” a spokesperson said in an email. “We do not believe that bears choose cans that are filled with alcohol, it is likely just a random search to test what is inside.”
Diglio said this was the second time a bear had broken through the patio screen but he accepts it as part of living in Lake Mary.
The family said Tripod is a “well-liked” member of the neighborhood.
“I was not scared because we know the bear really well. He lives here; we respect their habitat as much as we can,” Faneite-Diglio told WESH.
The FWC does not have plans to catch Tripod, adding that while Tripod was just on a screened porch and found an “unsecured fridge,” a bear that enters a home is a public safety issue and should be reported to wildlife officials immediately.
With fall coming, bears are more active as they search for food to pack on fat reserves, even if they are not hibernating as they do in colder climates, according to the FWC, which encourages residents to remove or secure anything that might attract a bear, including garbage, pet food and bird seed. Seeing a bear in a neighborhood isn’t cause for immediate concern, but that bear may settle down and stay in the area if there is a source of food, which could lead it to lose its natural fear of people.
To avoid encounters between a bear or other wildlife and pets, bang on your door and flip your house lights on and off before letting your pets outside. This will give the bear (and any other wildlife) time to leave the area before your pets come outside. If you do not have a fenced yard, keep your dog on a short leash when taking them outside.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission