For homeowners living or holidaying in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada mountains the chances of involuntarily sharing your home with a chonky bear or two are higher than most would be comfortable with. A video recently shared by the BEAR League – a non-profit conservation organisation based in the Lake Tahoe basin – provides hair-raising evidence of why it's important for residents in the area to seal off access points in their homes.

The clip showcases an average callout for the BEAR League team who are regularly contacted by Tahoe homeowners when bears take up residence in crawl spaces or raid kitchens looking for a snack. As winter approaches black bears develop an insatiable hunger in preparation for hibernation. It's called hyperphagia and during this time bears can put away 10 times the calories they normally consume – at least 20,000 a day. 

Sierra Nevada's black bears usually hibernate around mid-December, so at this time of year when they aren't scoffing down everything they can get their paws on they're also looking for a suitable spot to settle down for the winter. And crawl spaces are mighty appealing. 

"We’re getting calls every day," Ann Bryant, executive director of the BEAR League told the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is the time when everybody needs to be really diligent and close those crawl spaces off." Bears that make their way under houses can cause considerable damage as they bumble around amongst plumbing lines trying to find a comfy spot. According to Bryant, the best deterrent is an electrical barrier that blocks the entrance of the crawl space and prevents bears from entering.

The hungry omnivores are also known to break into kitchens or raid garbage bins. Wildlife officials advise that residents and holiday makers be vigilant and keep all doors and windows tightly shut, make sure garage doors are closed or vehicles are locked, and use bear-resistant garbage cans where possible.

Thankfully the squatter in the latest video was ushered out of the area without further damage, but prevention is definitely better than waking a sleepy bear.

Top header image: Dan Hutcheson, Flickr