It was a lovely sunny day and a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the hot tub. But as the Houghs relaxed in the water, a noise cut their R&R short. They then watched a dangerous beast stomp into their yard and sniff the air where the couple had been relaxing just moments earlier.
The family in question are Mark Hough and his wife, who live in beautiful Altadena, a town in Southern California. The state’s famed for its warm climate, so keeping cool is essential to everyday life. And one way of doing so is via private pools and hot tubs.
Hough is lucky enough to have a hot tub built into his back yard. It’s on his private property, but on particularly hot days, the lure of cool water can prove irresistible to some neighbors. For example, devil-may-care trespassers might decide to take a sneaky dip when no one’s home.
And it’s not just human home invaders that pool owners need to be wary of, either. Property rights mean little to wild animals, who won’t think twice about availing themselves of a convenient pool of water. Hough’s hot tub would make a tempting watering hole for several native Californian creatures.
One of the more common animals that you might find visiting your backyard are racoons. They can poop in your pool as well, which adds hygiene concerns to the general inconvenience that the animals cause. Possums might also enjoy a relaxing swimming session courtesy of your hot tub.
Skunks are another potential uninvited swimmer that the cool water could attract in warm weather. But it wasn’t any of these creatures that Hough witnessed traipsing through his backyard in July 2018. It was something much larger and far more dangerous.
Hough and his wife were spending time in their hot tub to stave off the beating heat that day. They’d even settled down with some margaritas to welcome the weekend in style. However, their plans were interrupted by some unusual sounds.
The sounds seemed to come from snapping twigs and undergrowth being broken, which Hough initially disregarded as mere background noise. But the husband and wife became concerned when the disturbance grew louder. As a result, Hough decided to err on the side of caution and went to investigate.
Hough recounted the subsequent events to NBC San Diego in July 2018, explaining how his encounter played out. “So I got up, looked over in the bushes, and lo and behold there’s a bear climbing up over my fence,” he said. The couple were surprised, to say the least.
Despite their reputation, bears would actually rather avoid human contact. On the other hand, those living close to urban areas sometimes wander into residential areas in search of a good meal. A human neighborhood is often a treasure trove of treats in garbage cans and unguarded food.
An unfortunate side effect is that such behavior occasionally results in human-bear conflict. Consequently, on seeing the bear’s approach, the couple made a hasty retreat to the security of their house. What they witnessed next was incredible – and thankfully Hough caught it on film.
Hough witnessed a surreal sight after holing up in the house for a while. Needless to say, he went straight for his camera. And the recorded footage shows the bear taking the homeowner’s place in his hot tub! It must have found the water temperature to be just right.
The tub’s owner watches with open-mouthed amazement as the bear relaxes in the tub for several minutes. As Hough put it, the bear was “bobbling away in the Jacuzzi enjoying himself.” The animal began by investigating the hot tub’s water jets.
According to NBC San Diego, Hough speculated that the jets reminded the bear of a flowing stream. It certainly looks very relaxed as its arms float around in the tub! But after some splashing around, the hairy hot tub intruder finds another source of entertainment.
To be more specific, the bear spots a chlorinator that looks like it would make a wonderful pool toy. The animal seems highly amused by the disk and according to Hough, the tub thermometer received the same treatment. The intruder reportedly even flung the device up in the air!
“He was playing [and] having a grand old time,” Hough said of the hairy invader. After its brief swim, the bear “popped out of the bushes, walked right over to the margarita, knocked it over and lapped it.” Subsequent to its tipple, the bear seemingly wandered off.
It wasn’t Hough’s last sighting of the party bear, though. An hour after its disappearance, he was discussing these strange events with his neighbor. But the conversation was interrupted by a shower of leaves from an overhead oak. And on further investigation, it turned out that the tree contained a familiar snoozing bear.
“So he had his margarita, he had his Jacuzzi, and now he’s ready for an hour nap,” Hough explained. The bear eventually wandered off, leaving its host to enjoy the rest of his evening in peace. Hough’s video footage subsequently made the news, and internet users fell in love with the animal’s antics.
One commenter wrote, “That’s my favorite cocktail too! That bear has good taste; I guess picnic baskets just don’t do it for Yogi Bear anymore!” Another added, “When a bear sneaks into someone’s pool it’s adorable. When humans do it we get arrested.”
Rather than feeling indignant about his uninvited guest, though, Hough took it all in his stride. The loss of a margarita even gave him an excuse to pour himself a couple more after the bear’s exit. “It was an interesting Friday to say the least,” he laughed.