In the wilderness, you need to watch your butt sometimes.
An Alaska woman camping with her brother near Chilkat Lake over the weekend nearly had to kiss hers goodbye when she encountered a bear in the outhouse, she told a local radio station.
“I got in there and sat down on the toilet seat, and something just immediately bit me in the butt,” Shannon Stevens told the Haines, Alaska-based KHNS Wednesday. “I jumped up and screamed.”
The commotion got the attention of her brother, Erik Stevens, who said he ran over to the outhouse.
“I take the headlamp and I grab the lid of the toilet seat and I lift it up,” he told the station. “Right at the level of the toilet seat, maybe an inch or two below, is a gigantic bear face looking right back up at me.”
The duo ran back to shelter, cleaned up Shannon’s injuries, which were not serious, and hunkered down for the night, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The next morning, they found tracks leading from their campfire to the outhouse, but the bear itself was gone.
They said the animal may have entered below the outhouse through a downhill opening and made its way toward the seat.
Although bear sightings should be minimal during February as the animals hunker down for winter, state biologist Carl Koch told the newspaper that he’d heard of at least two confirmed sightings this month in the Haines area.
Most brown bear sightings occur in the summer, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, coinciding with the salmon spawning season. Males can weigh between 500 and 900 pounds. They are considered the “largest living land carnivore,” although their diets also include plants.
Black bears, also omnivores, are much smaller — with males topping out around 200 pounds.
Both bears are typically dormant during the winter – but they don’t go into a “true hibernation,” according to the Wildlife Service.
“When we are out there in the summer or the fall I’m used to shouting ‘Hey, bear,’ the whole way,” Shannon told the radio station. “It was the dead of winter — I didn’t think to do that this time.”