Vacationers in Destin, Florida got quite the surprise today when a black bear was spotted swimming towards the shore before walking out of the water onto the beach.
The bear appeared to be a young cub, and while some beachgoers scattered (probably thinking it was a shark before realizing what was really going on), others calmly walked beside the little guy as he exited the water.
Once on land, the bear ran towards the dunes at the edge of the beach looking for safety before eventually disappearing.
According to beachgoer Jennifer Majors Smith, the bear seemed exhausted from its day at the beach by the time it made it to shore:
“At first no one on shore could tell what it was in the ocean. A man was yelling out ‘Bear!’ You would expect “shark or dolphin” but not bear. It came out of the Gulf and look tired but relieved.
Of course, my animal loving son started following it, so my mother-in-law grabbed him. We were all shocked by and amazed to see what we saw. We were all glad to see him safe from the water. We all enjoy a dip in the water, but who knows how long he was in there.”
And while a black bear swimming around in the Gulf of Mexico may be an unexpected sight, according to Destin charter boat captain Chris Kirby, it’s not entirely uncommon:
“It’s not uncommon. There are a lot of bears at Eglin Air Force Base. They swim across the bay. Sometimes they go for a joy swim.”
Kirby says that he grew up seeing bears swimming around in the Gulf, but that now everybody has cell phones to capture the unexpected creatures when it occurs.
Black bears are also known for being strong swimmers, who often enter water in search of fish while searching for food.
And sometimes, maybe they just want a relaxing day at the beach like the rest of us.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
Bear swimming in the Gulf of Mexico today near Destin, Florida 🐻 pic.twitter.com/YyUrULi91p— Get The Coast 😎 (@getthecoast) June 11, 2023