Bear opens home’s sliding glass door and ransacks the fridge, Colorado officials say

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A black bear entered a Colorado home through a sliding glass door and ransacked the refrigerator, officials said.

The 200-pound bear got a “large food reward” Tuesday from the Steamboat Springs home’s refrigerator, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said.

A day earlier, the bear tore the front screen off the house. It also entered a neighbor’s home, wildlife officers said.

“The wildlife officer believed this bear had become habituated to human food, rather than natural nuts, berries and grasses bears normally eat in the wild, and set a bear trap at the location,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a Thursday news release.

The bear was caught Thursday morning in a trap and identified by the homeowner, officials said. It was euthanized.

“A 200-pound bear in hyperphagia that has no fear of entering a home in search of food is a dangerous bear that poses an imminent threat to humans,” Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf said in the release.

Last week, a large black bear wandered into a family’s home in the same town through an open garage door. The homeowners were trapped inside with the bear, Colorado officials said.

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.”

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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