Bear visits Topaz Ranch home |

Bear visits Topaz Ranch home

Kurt Hildebrand
A bear's paws are visible in this photo taken under Maria Livingston's home on Tuesday.
Special to The R-C |

Topaz Ranch Estates resident Maria Livingston said at first, news she was being raided by a bear didn’t sink in.

She said her daughter woke her up earlier this week and told her “It sounds like there’s a bear in the truck.”

Livingston said she thought she was dreaming.

“I said, ‘OK, thanks,’ and when I woke up the next day she came up to me and said, ‘about that bear.’”

Livingston said although she thought the truck they use to haul garbage was empty, she went outside and saw a trail of trash and paw prints leading to the crawl space under the house.

When she approached the crawl space, she could hear the bear clearly.

“When I came back into the house, my daughter said ‘you can hear him from inside the house from through the floor.’”

Livingston called the bear aware number, but found the person on the other end incredulous.

“I completely gasped at how they handled the call,” she said. “She asked ‘How do you know it’s a bear? Perhaps a bear got into the garbage and another animal is in the crawl space, like a raccoon.’”

Livingston said she got a little sarcastic then.

“A raccoon after a biology experiment that made it really big,” she said she answered.

Livingston said her son took a picture of the bear, and she called Douglas Dispatch, who sent a deputy out to confirm the creature under her deck was a bear.

“The bottom line is that the bear was under my house, right at the entry, so we sequestered the kids, dogs and cats,” she said. “We could hear him even under the floor.”

Nevada Division of Wildlife officials set a trap for the bear Tuesday, and it apparently came out of the crawl space but skipped the trap, spokesman Chris Healy said.

“Bears usually go into their dens between Thanksgiving and Christmas in Western Nevada,” Healy said. “Almost all of the bears in this area are hibernating with just a few exceptions. We know this because we have satellite collars on a handful of bears which allow us to track locations and activity levels.”

Healy said there are still a few bears in Western Nevada who still wake up on garbage days during this time period and grab a quick meal and then return to their dens until the next garbage day arrives.

“These are usually the same bears that often end up under people’s decks or in crawl spaces under houses,” he said. “They find these places to be convenient for this kind of activity. They can still be near humans and human sources of food and still grab their hibernation time.”

Healy said bears in crawl spaces can do a lot of damage to the infrastructure of the house.

NDOW’s BEAR Hotline is 775-688-BEAR. Normal business hours are 6 a.m. until 11 p.m.