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'The black was staring back': B.C. couple discovers bear living under their deck

This bear made a Duncan couple's deck its den for December. (Courtesy: Crystal Weaver) This bear made a Duncan couple's deck its den for December. (Courtesy: Crystal Weaver)

A Duncan, B.C., couple are no strangers to wildlife encounters around their home on the Cowichan River, but they were shocked when they found out a large creature had moved in right underneath their deck.

The surprise squatter was a massive black bear.

Crystal Weaver told CTV News her bulldog Coco was acting strange for a couple of weeks, “barking like crazy” whenever she went on the deck.

She didn’t think much of it, assuming her dog was barking at the neighbours or seagulls. That is until last Thursday night, when she heard banging noises coming from outside.

Weaver’s husband Tyler checked under the deck the following morning, and discovered a large, black shape. “He said ‘and then I noticed the black was staring back at me,” Weaver recalled.

“He was absolutely wide eyed, like he’s not a huge fan of bears to begin with,” she said, adding Tyler quickly scurried away to safety.

The bear, meanwhile, seemed unfazed upon being discovered. “It went back to sleep. It was quite cozy where it was,” Weaver laughed.

She called conservation officers, who scared the animal away with loud noises. The couple hasn’t seen it since.

The pair has been applying the advice conservation officers gave them: dumping five cups of cayenne pepper under the house to make the den less appealing. They’re also in the process of putting fencing up to secure the area, and invested in some good flashlights and bear spray.

If the bear comes back in the meantime, Weaver said the COs told her to put a Bluetooth speaker under the deck and “blast some obnoxious heavy metal.”


But before the uninvited tenant got evicted, Weaver took a video from a safe distance with a conservation officer at her side.

She posted the clip to TikTok, where she has an account dedicated to videos of Coco. It has since racked up over four million views.

“It's so silly. To be honest, attention is a little bit weird,” Weaver said of going viral.

@cocobeansandcrew this black bear thought the space under our deck might be a great place to spend winter. scared it off and are now bear proofing the area. pay attention when your dog's try and tell you something, they might be barking for a reason. #bear #blackbear #hybernation #youcantstayyougottago #eek #canipetthatdog ♬ Can I pet that dog - KaylaaWade

She said she never wanted her social media page to blow up, but she hopes that others can learn from her experience.

Weaver is referring people to WildSafeBC to learn more about bear encounters, and wants to dispel any beliefs that having a bruin living under your house is fun.

“I know how dangerous bears can be, and I also know how dangerous it can be for the bear to get super comfortable with us. The last thing I want to be responsible for is that bear thinking people aren’t a threat and then it becomes a problem bear and ends up getting shot,” Weaver said.

“Don't feed bears. Don't let them get comfortable around you. They need to be afraid of us,” she continued.


Lisa Lopez, program manager at WildSafeBC, told CTV News that this year’s warm winter might explain the “different interactions” people may be having with wildlife.

“There could be some animals that are out right now that we didn't expect to be out,” she said.

Lopez said it’s rare, but not unheard of for an animal to set up shop in a residential area.

As for how the specific bear ended up under the deck in Duncan, Lopez said there could be various reasons it found the spot. It may have been attracted to the neighbourhood by garbage, or could have had its previous den disturbed in some way and the animal went to the next available place.

The bear might have been just passing by the river and found the home appealing. “They're kind of always looking for little areas to curl up in for the hibernation season,” she said.

Aside from posing a potential threat to pets and people, having a bear living in your space isn’t healthy for the animal because it means having to disturb its hibernation, Lopez explained.

“Things that come up that might put them, you know, into this state of ‘I have to get out of here or I have to protect my space’ is not allowing them to rest as they should,” she said.

To make sure a bear doesn’t shack up at your house, Lopez said to secure any areas that look like they could provide a warm or dark space for the winter.

And if you do find yourself in the same situation as the couple, she said to call the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. Top Stories

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