Fact Check

Playground Bears

Photographs show black bears cavorting on a backyard playset in Alaska.

Published Feb 25, 2007


Claim:   Photographs show four black bears cavorting on a backyard playset in Alaska.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2007]

Some folks who live on the Hillside area of Anchorage, Alaska, built this playground in their yard last weekend for their 3 and 4 year-old boys.

The next morning, the mom woke up to this scene.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Variations:   An April 2010 variant sited these ursines in Petoskey, Michigan.

Origins:   These photographs of four black bears cavorting on a backyard playset were snapped by a resident of Anchorage, Alaska, in August 2006. She explained the circumstances behind the pictures to us as follows:

I took the photos of the bears on our play equipment. I was getting the boys (ages 3 & 4) ready for daycare in the morning. My mom (who lives downstairs) called me and said to look out the window at the playset. Ta-da! There they were. 4 black bears having a grand old time. You can

see in a few of the photos that one of the bears is chewing on my son's fire truck. Occasionally, he would bite down on the button that would sound the siren. He
would jump up and give it a strange look. But, it didn't scare him off. After about 20 minutes, I figured I had better scare them off so they wouldn't think our playset was a good place to return. I threw rocks and dirt clods at them. At first, they just sniffed the rocks and looked at me. I actually connected with one of them (finally) and they sauntered away. They left bite marks in the slide and in the toys. There are scratch marks in the wood.

Since then, my husband hooked up an air horn. That way, the boys can alert me if a moose or bear or porcupine or any other critter comes around.

This past summer [2007] we have had other groups of bears. One of them even peed in our driveway!

Last updated:   24 April 2010

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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