This Bear Just Couldn't Resist a Lazy Florida Beach Day
Beachgoers in Destin, Florida were shocked.
It looks like the stereotype has evolved. It isn't just "Florida Men" or "Florida People" anymore—now, the descriptor has extended to the animal realm, since the Florida fauna seems to be partaking in uniquely odd activities as well.
Let's take this one bear, for example. A black bear was recently spotted at a Florida beach while it was doing exactly what beachgoers were doing too: taking a dip by the shore.
As CNN reports, Destin's beach was in shock on Sunday when the animal was identified. After taking a refreshing dip through the Gulf of Mexico, the bear reportedly ran up the shore. According to witnesses, the fuzzy fellow came from pretty far, and at first it was difficult to pin down what kind of animal it was—which is understandable, considering that our brains are probably not wired to expect to see a bear swimming in a Florida beach.
Some beachgoers even recorded a video of the wild encounter, and it is now circulating online. After making it to the shore and scaring off a few people and children (some of whom are, understandably, heard screaming in the recording), the bear reportedly ran off, according to a witness on site.
For now, it is still unclear where exactly the bear originally came from, but there is an explanation. Together with many other very dangerous animals, some bear species (including black bears) are counted among Florida's inhabitants. As such, it isn't uncommon for them to be spotted in civilized areas.
Following the viral beach bear sensation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) released a statement via its Facebook page explaining that during this time of the year, young bears like the one in Destin can be seen wandering as they leave their mother's home to explore uncharted territory and ultimately find their new home. As per our swimming champion, it might have been coming back from a Gulf island after scavenging for food, the FWC said.
"While seeing a bear swimming in the shallows of a crowded beach is unusual, to say the least, swimming is something that black bears are pretty good at," the FWC said. "It actually isn’t unusual to hear of black bears swimming in the Gulf, on their way to barrier islands in search of food."
This doesn't mean that you should approach the animal and try to make a beach friend, or you might get in real trouble. "Give ‘em plenty of space and never try to approach or feed them," the FWC added. "Most bears will move along on their own."