Large bear wanders into Colorado home and traps family for 45 minutes, officials say

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When a large black bear wandered into a Colorado family’s home, the residents ran into a room upstairs.

They got trapped there for nearly an hour, officials said.

The bear walked into the Steamboat Springs home through an open garage door last week and got stuck inside, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said Wednesday. The homeowners were inside and got trapped with the bear.

Wildlife officials tried to haze the bear from the house for 45 minutes, but the bear wouldn’t leave. It acted aggressively toward the wildlife officers, according to Parks and Wildlife.

The bear was put down “for reasons of health and human safety,” wildlife officials said.

“The bear had a broken lower jaw that was split in the middle,” District Wildlife Manager Adam Gerstenberger said in a news release. “It had healed up wrong and one of its canines was hanging out from its upper lip. The other lower canine was shattered, so its teeth weren’t meeting up.”

Wildlife experts said the bear’s injury was likely why it turned to human foods.

Bears’ noses are “100 times more sensitive” than humans’, and they can smell food up to five miles away, Parks and Wildlife said on its website. Bears will come back to a location where they’ve found food.

Bears have done damage when breaking into other homes in the West.

In California, a bear wandered into a couple’s home and made a mess of their kitchen in April. A mother bear and her three cubs peeled the siding off a Kings Beach home in March and trashed part of the basement. They also broke a gas line.

In Colorado, a bear broke through a window in August to get food from an Aspen home’s kitchen.

Wildlife officials have warned that if a bear breaks into your home, you shouldn’t confront it.

“Most bears will quickly look for an escape route,” the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said on its website. “Move away to a safe place. Do not block exit points. If the bear does not leave, get to a safe place and call 911.”

Wildlife officials also offered the following tips to deter bears:

  • Don’t leave food scraps in your yard

  • Have a bear-proof garbage can

  • Don’t put out the trash until the morning it’s to be collected

  • Do not leave food in your vehicle

  • Do not spray bear spray near your property (It can attract bears once dried.)

  • Do not feed wildlife near your home

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