A hibernating black bear woke up tired and trapped after its makeshift den flooded with water, Minnesota wildlife officials said.
The bear had picked a roadside culvert to sleep through the winter, the state Department of Natural Resources said in a social media post, but instead of waking up to a nice spring breeze, snow melt flooded in, causing the bear to become stuck in “deep snow and ice.”
Some people spotted the bear and tried to help it out of its predicament, which officials caution against.
“Some well-meaning folks tried to dig out the bear,” the department said. “They also served him up a smorgasbord of six Pop-Tarts, a head of lettuce, a dead sucker minnow, some Fancy Feast cat food, bird seed, and a Swedish fish.”
The bear turned all of these offerings down. The creatures don’t have much of an appetite during the winter.
“That might work for the Very Hungry Caterpillar in Eric Carle’s book, but it’s no good for bears,” the post said. “Luckily, because bears don’t have the desire to eat in the winter, the bear didn’t bite.”
For the safety of the animal and humans alike, people should never feed bears, as it makes them associate food with people.
Rescuers arrived at the scene and freed the bear, officials said. Weighing in at around 400 pounds, the male bear was “healthy but groggy.”
After being examined, it was relocated to a state game sanctuary where it can finish hibernating in peace.
“If you’re ever concerned about a bear’s safety by all means give us a call,” officials said. “But don’t try to move it or feed it! Doing so can result in a bad situation.”