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Bears Have Figured Out How to Open Car Doors (By Using the Handle)

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So here’s some news to make you lock your car: Bears across the country seem to have figured out how to open car doors.

William and Sara Hefner were on their honeymoon when they saw a black bear display this surprising feat in front of their rented condo near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. He managed to catch a video, which ended up on YouTube.

Really, the bear opens the door so easily you almost expect it to close the door behind it.

However, based on the sheer number of YouTube videos of black bears in specific doing this, it doesn’t seem all that uncommon. I mean, here is a video of a bear more or less going down a line of trucks, opening whatever doors seem like they might have snacks behind them.

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Bears across the country seem to be figuring these things out. According to The New York Times, bears used to cause quite a bit of damage to cars, but the number of violent break-ins has been falling every year. According to a wildlife officer at Yosemite who spoke to The Guardian, this is mostly because bears have figured out door handles.

Kirsten Leong, an animal/human interactions and behaviors expert for the national parks service, said that this is really just the latest behavior that bears have picked up to allow them to get food from humans, which started with rooting through garbage dumps, then moved to raiding campsites, and finally moved to invading vehicles, all behaviors that could be passed along through a process called “social learning,” where one initiator bear will teach its cubs the behavior, who will teach their cubs, and so on.

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This is not a good sign for the bears. Like with the coyotes we talked about recently from California, if a bear is fed by humans, it will come into contact with humans more and more often, eventually turning the bear into a nuisance to humans and leading to it having to be killed.

So, the new bottom line is, if you are going to be in a bear habitat, lock your doors.

News Sources: The Guardian, The New York Times

  • Daniel SuscoEditor

    Daniel Susco is a native of the Dayton-Cincinnati area, and has written on a multitude of subjects. He can discuss Shakespeare, expound on Classical Mythology, and even make witty jokes about Pliny the Elder (More like “Pliny the Rounder,” right?). In his free time, Daniel enjoys reading, cooking, woodworking, and long walks on the beach (just kidding – sunburn is no joke). See more articles by Daniel.