Woman’s hair-raising shriek spooks curious bear cub looking for ride in the back seat

Screengrab from Samantha Petty's public TikTok page
·2 min read

A group of women in Tennessee were unloading their car when they spotted an unexpected and hairy visitor about to crawl inside.

Their reaction was arguably reasonable: They screamed.

Samantha Petty’s original video of the bear cub about to crawl into her car got over 7 million views on TikTok.

Petty recorded the young black bear snooping around her car and reaching up to grab the back door handle.

@samanthapetty7 Reply to @bayareaaaaaa @giaaa:) ♬ Oh No - Kreepa

“Oh hell no. Get away from my car!” Petty shouts in the video and starts shrieking. Other women are screaming in the background of the video, too.

“We were in the process of moving stuff out the car but when we saw the bear coming we thought we had locked it,” another TikTok user who was tagged in the video wrote in the comments.

After a considerable amount of screaming, the bear lost interest in the vehicle and meandered down the road, Petty updated in a second video. She showed photos of the car door handle and the interior scratched up from the cub’s claws.

Petty tagged the location in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is a small mountain town popular among summer visitors.

“Imagine explaining to insurance you need repairs because a bear helped himself to the backseat of your car,” someone joked.

Petty and her friends did the right thing by screaming, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources agency. The department recommends these steps if you encounter a black bear:

  • Never feed or approach bears!

  • If a bear approaches you in the wild, it is probably trying to assess your presence.

  • If you see a black bear from a distance, alter your route of travel, return the way you came, or wait until it leaves the area.

  • Make your presence known by yelling and shouting at the bear in an attempt to scare it away.

  • If approached by a bear, stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger, yell and throw rocks or sticks until it leaves the area.

  • When camping in bear country, keep all food stored in a vehicle and away from tents.

  • Never run from a black bear! This will often trigger its natural instinct to chase.

  • If a black bear attacks, fight back aggressively and do not play dead! Use pepper spray, sticks, rocks, or anything you can find to defend yourself. If cornered or threatened, bears may slap the ground, “pop” their jaws or “huff” as a warning. If you see these behaviors, you are too close! Slowly back away while facing the bear at all times.

Bears will almost always find an escape route if they are left alone, according to the TWRA.

Gatlinburg is about 36 miles southeast of Knoxville.

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