Honestly, I don't think I'd ever get in a hot tub again if this happened to me. It's the stuff of nightmares (but I'm not someone who could even contemplate sharing a bed with a dog).
As described in various viral posts this week, Todd Trebony, from Camilla, was holidaying in Gatlinburg Tennessee when he noticed a large and shambling visitor this week. In his own Instagram video, the bear can be seen moseying cheerfully along the porch railing of the rental property, before checking out the hot tub and settling in for a soak.
Trebony was a whole lot more chill about it than I would be. "Just having a blast," he says in a voiceover. "Just in the jacuzzi, whatever."
In all seriousness, although the view is very funny and the bear is incredibly cute, this is not usual behavior for a bear. Although they're not a super-rare sight in Tennessee - there are around 1500 of them in the parks and the population of bears is growing, so they're sometimes visible when foraging, especially at this time of year when food becomes more scarce and they're always on the lookout for a good meal - usually bears are shy and retiring, although they do have a curious nature.
“In many areas of Tennessee, it is fairly common to (see) bears near human dwellings during the spring and summer months. This time of year natural foods may be limited and bears could be looking for an easy meal. Bears have an incredible sense of smell and are likely being lured by some type of food attractant.” - the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
The Gatlinburg bear was not at all shy and retiring. After he'd had a good soak in the tub. it was a while before he wandered off to get back to doing whatever bears do, leaving that hot tub free for Todd Trebony to soak in it again himself if the mood should so take him.
I can't imagine I'd want to hop in a jacuzzi straight after a bear, though. Bears have fleas, for a start! Not only that, but if the bear came back for a bit more of a soak, there's no guarantee he'd be friendly.
“Bears in the park are wild and their behavior can be unpredictable. Although extremely rare, attacks on humans have occurred, inflicting serious injuries and death. Treat bear encounters with extreme caution!” - National Park Service
So, yeah. Not an encounter I'd like to make. But it made for a super-cute Instagram and Facebook post. I couldn't help thinking of Paddington Bear, flooding the Browns' bathroom in the famous stories, and having a good old scrub while water flooded down the stairs and filled the hallway with bubbles. The Gatlinburg bear, in the video, has the same insouciant air as Paddington, and the same "just chilling" vibe. But I still maintain that if I'd seen him amble on to my holiday cottage patio and have a float and soak in my hot tub, I'd be packing my bags and heading right on home.
Or at least not chilling on the patio for the rest of my stay (let alone having a hot tub session).