When 11-year-old Zach Landis came running up the stairs late at night shouting, "Mom, Dad, there's a bear in my room," his parents thought he had either had a bad dream or been pranked by his older sisters. Then they saw the smashed window and the claw marks. Zach tells Alaska Dispatch News that he was awoken by a loud crash Monday night and saw the large black bear scratch at the walls before climbing out of the bedroom window it had smashed through. The sound was "almost like a cannon burst through and hit straight past my ear," Zach says. The bear—which Zach says smelled like a wet, muddy dog—hit the foot of the bed on the way in, missing the boy by inches.
Zach's parents called 911, and dispatchers at first found it hard to believe that the bear had crashed through a closed, locked window. The home is surrounded by woods on three sides, but the family says there were no previous signs of bears on the property. Biologists say that while hungry bears occasionally enter homes if they smell food, it is extremely unusual for one to charge through a window. The family suspects the bear spotted its reflection in the glass and charged it. Zach has spent the last few nights sleeping in his parents' room upstairs, but he says he plans to return to his room on the lower level soon. (Earlier this month, a 16-year-old boy was killed by a bear during a trail race near Anchorage.)