Don’t pick up hitchhikers. Even furry ones.
A woman in Rhode Island found herself in the frightening position Tuesday of having to deny a ride to an overly friendly bear — who appeared intent on getting in her car, officials said.
The curious black bear was spotted near Camp Varnum, a Rhode Island Army National Guard training facility, in Narragansett, according to the city’s animal control unit.
In photos posted online, the affable animal is seen standing up with his hands on the passenger’s side window getting up close and personal with the woman (the one-on-one treatment is sort of a necessity considering it’s tough to thumb a ride without opposable thumbs). The unidentified driver kept her cool and acted swiftly.
“Thankfully she was able to secure herself in her vehicle after the bear opened the car door and she fought to shut it from inside,” Narragansett Animal Control wrote on Facebook.
Additional pictures showed the bear walking around the area near other cars, none of which appeared to stop for him.
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Animal control officers in Narragansett said while black bears might be considered “cool,” they’re very fast runners so, “if sighted, please secure yourself as quickly as possible!”
Black bears sightings have become increasingly more common in Rhode Island, according to the state’s Fish & Wildlife Department. The mammals “have an excellent sense of smell and may be attracted to bird feeders, trashcans, compost piles or other sources of food in your backyard,” officials say.
Wildlife experts urge people who spot black bears not to feed them (or offer them rides). If encountered on foot, people are encouraged to remain calm, face the bear and slowly walk away.
“If a bear feels threatened, cornered or scared it may bluff charge you,” experts said. “Back away slowly while making noise.”