A bear encounter in Alaska isn't too surprising. A bear encounter in Alaska during winter? Still not that unusual. A bear encounter in Alaska during winter and inside what had seemed to be an empty outhouse? Now, you're talking. KHNS has the bizarre tale, in which Haines resident Shannon Stevens ventured out to use an outhouse while on a camping trip. When she sat down, "something immediately bit me in the butt," she recalls. Stevens jumped up but decided to investigate by re-lifting the lid. "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.” She ran back to safety, and her two fellow campers cleaned up and bandaged the single puncture wound in her nether regions.
A state wildlife official who investigated figures it was a black bear, and the best guess is that the animal crawled into the outhouse toilet through an opening downhill. As the Anchorage Daily News explains, while bears are less active in the winter, they don't enter a state of full hibernation and thus can still show up as unexpected guests—say, if humans have been cooking outdoors at a camp site. In fact, another Haines resident survived an attack by a brown bear while skiing earlier this month. As for Stevens, who in retrospect isn't sure whether she was bitten or scratched, there's a life lesson: “I mean, I’m definitely going to look down in the hole next time,” she tells KHNS. (Another skier got chased down a slope by a bear.)