A bear got caught looking a little too human in eastern North Carolina, and photos of the encounter are being likened to a Bigfoot sighting.
The images show the 5-foot-tall beast standing in a field — not like a bear, but like a man in a bear suit.
It then eerily turned to stare at the photographer.
The photos were taken Sunday as two East Carolina students, Zachary Allen and Erin McAllister, visited Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge near the coast.
“To be honest, when we both first saw it, we weren’t even sure it was real!” Erin McAllister of Waxhaw told McClatchy News.
“It was standing so still and stoically. We had both never seen black bears in the wild before — but my boyfriend … could tell right away that the bear in that standing position seemed kind of unnatural and odd. It stood in that position for close to 10 minutes.”
The students, who are from Union County, say they eventually decided the bear was looking for something, which turned out to be several “friends” who ran off. The refuge is 63,896 acres and hosts about “four bears per square mile,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“He seemed wholly unbothered by us, and aside from a slight glance our direction, continued looking towards the forest on the other side of the road,” McAllister said.
“After a few minutes, I noticed a group of three similarly sized black bears run in front of our car … Once this standing bear saw them, he quickly lowered himself back onto all fours, and ran off into the woods to meet them.”
McAllister shared the photos Monday on Carolina Critters, a Facebook group of 7,000 people devoted to unusual wildlife encounters. The post has received hundreds of reactions and comments, including some who noted the bear had surprisingly good posture. Several said it could easily have been mistaken for a mythical creature.
“Thought it was Bigfoot!” Brentley Norman wrote.
“A real Sasquatch,” Sallie Ellinwood posted.
“I love bears but when they stand on their hind legs, it just creeps me out,” Melody Love posted. [Charlotte Observer]
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