A quick-thinking grandmother scooped up her granddaughter when she saw the little brown bear
Missy Hawes was frightened when she saw a bear scavenging through her yard, but security camera footage shows the bear was probably just as scared as her!
Hawes was on her porch in Altadena, California, with her 1-year-old granddaughter, Blake Massie, when she noticed the toddler was transfixed on something behind her. That’s when Hawes turned around and saw an adolescent bear wandering around their yard, only about 10 feet away from where they were on the porch, according to KTLA.
In footage recorded by the home’s security system on the evening of April 14, Hawes is seen doing a quick double-take at the animal before jumping toward Blake to scoop her up and rush to the door. The bear sighting gave Hawes quite the fright, and in the video, she can be heard screaming loud enough that it sends the brown-colored bear running through the yard — seemingly to get as far away from her as it could.
“I think [Blake] was more frightened when I screamed than actually seeing the bear,” Hawes told KTLA. “Because the bear made no noise whatsoever.”
Hawes said her encounter with the bear wasn’t the only time she has seen a furry creature clamoring around her neighborhood — earlier in April, she caught a bear attempting to go through their garbage in the driveway.
“We’ve had some summers where we’ve had no bear and some summers where we’ve had tons of bears,” Hawes told KTLA. “I’m thinking this might be a summer with a lot of bear activity.”
Aside from bears, she’s also come across coyotes, mountain lions and deer. Coyote sightings, in particular, have become more frequent in the last several years in urban areas around Southern California. Though attacks are rare, the Orange County Register reports there were 50 coyote attacks in which someone was bitten in the southern part of the state from August 2012 to 2016.
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Bear attacks are also extremely uncommon, but in case one happens, the National Park Service has guidelines for what to do. If you’re ever attacked by a brown bear, the safest thing to do, the NPS says, is to lay flat on your stomach and place your hands over your neck. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s essentially the age-old advice of “playing dead.” The NPS adds that attempting to fight the bear will only intensify the attack.
If the encounter is with a black bear, the NPS advises against playing dead. Instead, they recommend running to a secure place — like a vehicle — or to kick the animal in the face if it attacks. Hopefully, like Hawes, you’ll be in a situation where the bear will run away from you.