• The homeowner found the bear digging up plants from his yard
  • The homeowner suspects the bear is pregnant and might give birth soon
  • Bears break into crawlspaces to seek warmth during winter

A homeowner in Southern California found himself in an alarming situation when someone started living in his residence’s crawlspace — a bear.

Jerry Shutman learned about his unexpected house guests Monday when a dog alerted him to the bear and her cub digging up plants in his yard. The mother bear then placed the plants into Shutman’s crawlspace in what appeared to be her "making a nest." Shutman suspected the mother bear is pregnant and may give birth soon, KNBC reported.

The bear sighting in the foothills community of the San Gabriel Mountains is not uncommon, but a bear making itself at home under someone’s crawlspace is concerning for the safety of both humans and animals.

"I’m worried," Shutman said to San Gabriel Valley Tribune. "The bears go under there every once in a while and they’ll typically stay 20 minutes or so. And they’ve torn up the insulation. I know that’s a done deal already. And I’m worried about the electrical work."

"If they tore a wire, it might short something where something wasn’t working. I don’t know what else lives under there, so I don’t really want to go under to have to repair anything or send somebody else down there to repair it," he said to the outlet.

Shutman said he again saw the bear on Tuesday but did not hear any sound coming from under the building since its sighting. He is unsure if the bear has permanently left his home or has decided to settle down there.

According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, as temperature drops around the state, bears look for dens to shield themselves against the harsh winter. The dark and insulation-covered crawlspace in homes presents itself as the perfect spot.

The department is asking homeowners to seal their crawlspace and empty vacation homes as bears might try to break in. It can create conflict for both the property owner and the animal.

"Once underneath a house they will often pull down insulation for bedding or scoop up available debris, like pine needles, to create their winter beds. This activity often causes damage to wiring for cable or electricity, piping that supplies heat to the home, and even water or gas lines," the department said in a statement. "This type of damage can be costly to repair, can leave you without heat for the winter, and can cause flooding or fires."

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