KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A bear ran into a Gatlinburg restaurant Friday afternoon, according to visitors who witnessed the incident.
An employee at Crawdaddy’s confirmed the bear had run up the front staircase and entered the restaurant. The employee said it quickly turned around and left.
Kacie Faulling Myers was visiting the area from South Carolina with her family when the bear made an appearance as they were walking outside.
“Can you imagine sitting in the restaurant and a bear coming out?” she asked as she took a video from across the street.
Visitors can be seen running toward the restaurant with their cell phones out.
Faulling Myers snapped photos from across the street of the bear wandering along the sidewalk right next to people. The bear even looks up at a man standing beside a trash can just feet away.
Gatlinburg Police said an ambulance was called to the area. The restaurant employee said the bear had knocked someone over outside. We have not received information on the person’s condition.
Bear sightings in the area are not uncommon. In March, a man visiting Gatlinburg took this video of a bear lounging in his hot tub.
In May, bears were spotted scavenging trash cans at a Gatlinburg gas station.
At the time, officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency had reminded people that Gatlinburg is part of the bears’ natural habitat and roaming area. The agency encouraged people to stay “bear aware.”
Here are some other reminders from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency about bears:
- While black bears are usually tolerant of humans, they should always be treated as wild animals, whether in residential or backcountry areas.
- Black bears are rarely aggressive towards people and typically go out of their way to avoid contact, however as human development continues and bear numbers increase, occasional interactions will be unavoidable.
- Black bears are extremely powerful animals whose behaviors can be unpredictable.
- Black bears are very curious animals and this should not be confused with aggression.
- Startled bears will often confront intruders by turning sideways to appear larger, make woofing and teeth clacking sounds, salivate, lay their ears back and slap the ground with their paws. These are warnings for you to leave the area.
- Bears will often stand on their hind legs to get a better view or a better sense of hearing and smell.
- Never feed or approach bears.
The Southeast is home to some 72,000 black bears, according to BearWise. For more information about black bears, you can also visit the “BearWise” program page.