An Alaskan woman had the scare of her life when she used a toilet in the field and was attacked by a bear, from below.
“I went out and sat on the toilet and immediately something bit my butt just as I sat down,” Shannon Stevens told the Associated Press. “I jumped up and screamed when it happened.”
Stevens, his brother Erik and their girlfriend had taken snowmobiles into the desert on February 13 to stay in their yurt, located about 20 miles northwest of Haines in southeast Alaska.
His brother heard the screams and went to the toilet, about 150 feet (45.72 meters) from the yurt. There, he found Shannon tending to his wound. At first they thought she had been bitten by a squirrel or a mink or something small.
Erik had brought his lighthouse to see what it was.
“I opened the toilet seat and there is only a bear face right there at the level of the toilet seat, just looking up through the hole, right at me,” he said.
“I just closed the lid as fast as I could. I said, ‘There’s a bear down there, we have to get out of here now,’ he said. “And we ran back to the yurt as fast as we could.”
Once safely inside, Shannon was treated with a first aid kit. They determined it wasn’t that bad, but would target Haines if it got worse.
“He was bleeding, but he wasn’t too bad,” Shannon said.
The next morning, they found bear tracks all over the property, but the bear had left the area. “You could see them through the snow, approaching the side of the latrine,” he said.
They believe the bear entered the latrine through an opening at the bottom of the back door.
“I guess it’s probably not such a bad den in the winter,” Shannon said.
Biologist Carl Koch of Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Management suspects it was a black bear based on photos of footprints he saw and the fact that a neighbor who lived half a mile away He posted a photo of a black bear on his property two days later.
That owner yelled at the bear, but he didn’t react. He didn’t approach her either, but continued to work heavily, as if he were in hibernation mode by walking.
Even though it is winter, Koch said they receive calls throughout the year about the absence of bears.
And 2020 was a record year for general bear problems in the Haines area.
Reasons for that, he said, could include the fact that it was a poor year in which salmon was paired with a mediocre berry harvest. “It is also possible that a bear may not be able to get fat enough when it goes to the den, that it could be away from home more often or sooner,” he said.
Koch suspects that Shannon’s injury was caused by the bear hitting her with a paw instead of being bitten. Either way, the location could be the first.
“When it comes to getting hit on the butt when you’re sitting in the winter, she might be the only person on Earth that has ever had this happen to, as far as I know,” Koch said.
Regardless of the season, Erik says that he will carry bear spray all the time when he goes to the field, and Shannon plans to change a behavior too.
“I’m sure I’ll be better off looking inside the toilet before sitting down,” he said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism