From mice lurking inside toilet bowls to snakes slithering through pipes, animals have a history of hiding in unexpected places. But what happens when the hiding animal is a bear?
Shannon Stevens entered an outhouse while on a trip in the Alaskan backcountry last month, unaware of the danger lurking beneath its floors.
After sitting down, she became seized by fear.
“Something bit my butt right as I sat down,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“I jumped up and I screamed when it happened.”
Even from a distance of 150 feet, Stevens’ brother Erik heard her screams and rushed to her aid following the incident. He carried a headlamp with him, intending to identify the monster.
A quick inspection of the outhouse discredited any previous assumptions that his sister’s wound came from a small animal.
Peering at him from the lifted toilet seat, the monster, a bear, revealed itself.
“I just shut the lid as fast as I could. I said, ‘There’s a bear down there, we got to get out of here now,'” he told the AP.
“And we ran back to the yurt as fast as we could.”
This didn’t sound like a good time for anyone involved, but Shannon Stevens recovered from her wound and now recounts the story with a promise to be more careful in the future.
Though the Alaskan backcountry is notorious for its bear population, her tale still seems atypical.
No one would suspect to uncover danger in a place so private and secluded, but her story shows why you should “look before you leap,” to quote the old idiom.
Why would a bear seek refuge under an outhouse?
“I expect it’s probably not that bad of a little den in the winter,” Stevens said.
Though an outhouse may prove to be a nice den, this isn’t a good way to discover a hiding bear.
Perhaps Stevens’ story has a lot to offer to those seeking to excavate the great outdoors or even the great indoors, not because it’s likely to happen to anyone else, but because it may increase others’ awareness of bear problems.
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