Watch a Bear Family Invade a California Backyard and Go for a Dip in the Pool

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Written by Eliana Riley

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Black bear in water bringing its two front paws to its face
© Elizabeth Caron/

Key Points

  • Bears can swim and are most likely to take a dip in the water when temperatures rise.
  • Interestingly, bears don’t sweat. Rather, they release heat through their paws, nose, face, ears, and belly.
  • Bear cubs won’t go near water until they weigh at least 30 pounds.

In this incredible video, a mama bear and her cubs beat the summer heat by taking a swim in a nearby pool. The video begins with a large mama bear and her two cubs invading a California backyard. The cubs dip their paws into the pool, checking the water’s temperature. Meanwhile, the mama bear heads into the crystal-clear water without hesitation.

One cub soon joins her in the pool and begins swimming briskly. The second cub seems nervous to take the plunge and waits by the poolside. Eventually, the second cub gains confidence and dives into the pool alongside its family. After some time, one cub exits the water and approaches the cameraman, who’s standing behind a glass door. However, the cub seems disinterested in the camera and begins playing with shoes on the patio.

The other cub joins in, and both baby bears begin chewing on the shoes sitting on the outside doormat. The mama bear waits patiently in the pool as her kids play. Suddenly, one cub knocks over a potted plant on the patio, leaving a huge mess! The cubs then follow their mother, who guides them over a wall and back into their habitat. While these bears certainly made quite a mess of this pool, at least they had the opportunity to cool off from the intense California heat.

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black bear swimming

Watch this amazing video of a family of bears swimming in a pool to cool off from the summer heat!

©Volodymyr Burdiak/

Can Bears Swim?

Bears can swim, but their swimming ability depends on the species. For instance, black and brown bears are good swimmers, but they rarely choose to swim unless necessary. On the other hand, polar bears frequently swim in search of food, and polar bears may swim more than six miles per hour.

In addition, bears possess an oily coat and a high fat content, which helps them float in the water. Furthermore, bear cubs are often limited in their swimming abilities; they are unlikely to venture into the water until they weigh at least 30 pounds.

Can Bears Swim

Polar bears are the only marine mammal bear species; they spend so much time swimming.

©Vladimir Gjorgiev/

How Do Bears Stay Cool During Summer?

Unlike humans, bears don’t sweat, and their thick coats insulate their bodies to keep them warm, rather than cool. Therefore, bears have adapted other ways of beating the heat during summer. For one, bears shed their underfur during summer, which allows them to stay cool. As winter approaches, underfur will grow back in preparation for extreme cold.

In addition, bears can release heat through their paws, nose, ears, face, and belly. These areas of the bear’s body possess little fur, which allows heat to escape. As seen in the video, bears may also dive into water sources to stay cool. Whether sprinklers, pools, lakes, or rivers, bears will take advantage of these water sources to beat the heat.

Grizzly bear walking in a river in Bella Coola British Columbia Canada

Bears may take a swim in various water sources to stay cool when temperatures increase.


Is This Normal Bear Behavior?

Spectacled Bear swimming

Black bears in Florida have been documented swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.

©Lars Haefner / Creative Commons

It is normal for bears to swim, not only in their natural resources but in any areas that are made available to them. Bears are attracted to water and in the summer, especially when it gets warmer, they like to find water sources of any form – pools, artificial ponds, and even hot tubs. Generally, most cubs don’t swim until they are at least 30 pounds but can be found with their mothers enjoying swims when they need to cool off.

Bears are excellent swimmers and most black and brown bears will enter the water to obtain food, although black bears are noted for their love of taking dips in water sources. Black bears in Florida have been documented swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and black bears in residential areas, like the ones in the video below, have been documented using pools nationwide, from California to Massachusetts.

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About the Author

Eliana Riley is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on geography, travel, and landmarks. Eliana is a second-year student at Miami University majoring in English Education and Spanish. A resident of Tennessee and Ohio, Eliana enjoys traveling to national and state parks, hiking, kayaking, and camping.

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