This behavior is not typical: Tahoe bear walks into 7-Eleven – SF Gate

Maybe it wanted a Klondike Bar.

A large bear opened the door of a 7-Eleven store in Tahoe‘s Olympic Valley near Palisades resort with his paw this week and casually walked into the store, putting his two front legs up on a freezer at the door.

@fmunna83pk Last night enter the store…. #bearworld #squawvalley #truckee #nature #foryou ♬ original sound – Fanu

The furry beast never made it to the ice cream aisle, but the animal showed its manners by triggering the hand sanitizer dispenser with its snout and keeping 6 feet distance. 

TikTok user @fmunna83pk took video of the incident, with a woman in the background screaming “get out,” and the footage posted on Nov. 14 has received more than 1.2 million hearts and more than 55,000 comments.

Even 7-Eleven, the American chain of convenience stores, hopped into the comments and joked, “he wants a blue raspBEARy Slurpee.”

The store at 3041 River Road confirmed the animal has been spotted multiple times in the parking lot but had never been inside. No one was harmed and animal control was called, but the store said the bear ran away before officials arrived. 

Kevin Thomas, a regional manager for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the bear has an ear tag on it, which means it has been captured and marked during one of the efforts over the past few years to trap and tag bears in the Tahoe Basin. 

“The behavior is not typical of wild bears,” Thomas wrote in an email. “It is a learned behavior from pursuing human food sources rather than foraging in the wild. Lake Tahoe has a robust bear population and they often interact with homes and businesses in search of food. Once they get a taste of human food it can be difficult to reverse the behavior. Part of the trap/tag/haze effort we operate is to try and recondition those bears to pursue natural food sources.”

Bears in the Tahoe Basin are known for their antics, and over the years, the animals have learned they can come down from higher elevations and find food in the towns and neighborhoods. Unsecured dumpsters are a favorite, but sometimes they also break into cars and enter residences and stores.

Another Tahoe bear made headlines in 2020 by entering a Safeway store and feasting in the produce aisle. The same bear was also spotted in a convenience store at a nearby gas station stuffing candy into its mouth.

Peter Tira, an information officer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said fall is a time of year when bears are actively seeking food and people should be extra vigilant about not leaving food in cars or out in cabins. 

“This is a time of year when Tahoe bears are undergoing a physiological change,” Tira explained. “They are in eating overdrive, fattening up for winter and hibernation. It’s nature’s way of preparing them for winter. We’re seeing lots of bears breaking into cars. Folks have to be vigilant on their properties, campsites and cars. It’s a time when bears are out actively out foraging aggressively.”

If you’re visiting Tahoe and concerned about bears, read SFGATE Tahoe editor Julie Brown’s story on “things you should know about bears.”

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