Bear in Hot Tub Photos Go Viral in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

bear in hot tub

Hannah Strickland via Laura Halm/Facebook Hannah Strickland took this adorable photo of a bear in a hot tub.

A bear climbed into a hot tub in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and appeared to be having the time of its life.

Laura Halm of WATE-TV first shared the photos on her Facebook page. “OMG CUTE ALERT: My sweet friend, Hannah Elizabeth Strickland, snapped these photos of this little guy relaxing in a Gatlinburg cabin this morning! ❤️ #Gatlinburg #BlackBears #Smokies,” she wrote. Here’s her original post with all of the photos of the bear in the hot tub:

The adorable photos quickly went viral. More than 4,600 people have shared Halm’s Facebook page post about the bear. Strickland’s Facebook page says she is a sales consultant who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee and studied journalism. The photos were snapped at a cabin in the Smoky Mountains.

The Humane Society provides tips for what you should do if you encounter a black bear. “As black bear numbers increase in some North American communities and more people move into bear habitat, encounters between bears and people have risen,” the site explains.

Here’s what you need to know:

People Filled Halm’s Thread With Jokes About the Hot Tub Bear

The bear looked like it was chilling out and having quite the good time in the hot tub. That sparked a round of “how adorable” comments on social media. Here are some of the comments:

“So cute, it was relaxing lol.”

“Now that is cuteness all wrapped up into these photos. ❤️”

“He just wanted to get relaxed for a little bit.”

“Note to self, keep the cover on when hot tub not in use!!! ?”

“Bear was enjoying that tub.”

“Note to self, keep the cover on when hot tub not in use!!! ?”

“The bear had sore muscles and needed some relief from walking all over the Smoky Mountains.”

“See why I love Gatlinburg?”

Other people offered warnings, though:

“Cute but dangerous. I wouldn’t go out there.”

“Forget about the bears poop in the hot tub?????”

“Oh lord And I’m suppose to vacation there in a couple of weeks.not looking good lol.”

“Cute!! But where is Mama Bear – she won’t be happy when she comes to rescue her baby!! Be safe!!”

Others said the best course of action was to scare the bear off for its own protection. The Humane Society website explains that it’s not good if bears lose their fears of humans.

“Bears who lose their fear of people are called ‘nuisance bears,'” the site explains.

“These are most often subadult males—young bears who have just dispersed from their mothers and are still learning how to obtain food—and mothers with young cubs. In many states, nuisance bears are killed or trapped and moved far away in hopes that they won’t come back. But most of the time this outcome wouldn’t have been necessary if people hadn’t made food so easy to find in the yard or trash dumpster.”

Many human/bear encounters occur around food and garbage, though – not hot tubs.

“If you see a black bear in your yard, don’t fear the worst. A youngster may simply be passing through in search of a home of his own. Or an adult may be checking out an enticing smell or interesting sound. Usually when he finds out there are people around, he’ll head for the hills, never to be seen again,” the Humane Society advises.