Bear Breaks Into Home Forcing Boy To Make A Bold Move To Save His Mom

When was the last time you actually experienced something go bump in the night? The chances of encountering the boogeyman are slim outside of a 1980s horror movie, and everyone knows that gremlins are only dangerous when fed after midnight, so those kinds of monstrous interactions are relatively rare. Really, it’s the real-life beasts that scare the daylights out of us…

By “real-life beasts,” we mean the animals that are scarier in person than in our imaginations: Lions, sharks, alligators, and pretty much anything in the arachnid family. So, when two teen boys came face-to-face with a similarly larger-than-life visitor, their normal evening took a very terrifying turn.

In August of 2019, Hayes Sherman and Bobby Harden were doing what most fifteen-year-olds do on lazy summer nights: They were hanging out and watching TV. Above the sound of the show they were watching, however, they started to hear something weird.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Hayes immediately recognized the sound as coming from his refrigerator, which beeped when it was left open for too long. Figuring his mom was in the kitchen, he didn’t think much about it. 

But then he heard it again. Beep. Beep. Beep. He and Bobby looked at the clock — 12:30 A.M. It was much too late, Hayes realized, for his mom to be making a snack. Then why was the fridge open?

And why, he and Bobby wondered, was someone throwing tupperware around? “My mom would not be aggressively opening tupperware at 12:30 in the morning,” Hayes remembered thinking. He knew what he had to do…

“I was really scared. I wasn’t exactly sure of what to do,” he said. Regardless, they peeked through the sliding door and into the kitchen — and what they saw was scarier than any ghost or ghoul.

It was a bear, and he definitely looked ravenous. “It looked us in the eyes and it started coming towards us,” Hayes recalled. “We both went to the sliding door to hold it in place so that the bear couldn’t get in.” 

Bear Breaks Into House, YouTube

They watched in horror as the bear ate his way through the fridge. He devoured a tupperware of taco meat, a box of crackers, and two pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. His flavors of choice? Half Baked and The Tonight Dough. 

The friends knew the bear would tire of the fridge, and their suspicions rang true when they started to hear the tip-tap of claws near their hiding spot. “The bear started shaking the door and we had to hold it shut,” Bobby said.

All the while, Hayes had one thing on his mind: His mother. He knew that his mom and cousin were upstairs sleeping, and he was afraid of them coming downstairs, totally defenseless against the bear. He had to contact them…

But how? He and Bobby didn’t have their phones nearby, and they couldn’t leave their hiding place from behind the sliding door. “We’ve never been more scared in our lives,” Hayes said. But then it hit him: Help was closer than he thought.

He didn’t necessarily need his phone to call his mom; he could use his Apple watch. With this solution in mind, he whispered a warning into his watch. “Mom, there is a bear in the house. Don’t come downstairs.”

His next call was to 911. “It was very difficult, because I was whispering to 911 on my watch in a very dark room while trying to hold the door closed so the bear couldn’t get in,” he said.

Hayes and Bobby remained barricaded behind the door while the bear continued his stroll through the house. They watched as he moved from the kitchen to the living room, all the while munching on whatever food he could get his paws on.

Hayes’ mother, Susan Mohun, was petrified as she listened to the bear roam through her home. “That is a worst-case scenario as a parent to have a bear between you and your children,” she said. 

Suddenly, for the second time that night, Hayes saw something unusual: A blinking light from the front door. “I saw a flashlight in the driveway,” Hayes said. Then he heard shouting — and saw the red blinking lights of the police.

From a second-story window, Susan shouted details about the home’s layout so the police would know how to get in. From inside the house, Hayes and Bobby were mixed with relief and fear — how would the bear react to the police?

With Sheriff’s Deputy Allyson Prero on the case, the boys wouldn’t have to worry for much longer. She kicked in the front door, which made an easy exit for the hungry bear…or so she thought. 

The bear left the house but lingered in the driveway. Still, Deputy Prero knew what to do. “I just hit him with a bear round on the back side and he shooed,” she said. 

Tahoe/Truckee Unified School District

Finally, Hayes and Bobby were freed from behind the sliding door. Their first move was to hug Deputy Prero — and to receive a lesson in how to safely live in the middle of bear country.

“I think people underestimate how smart bears are,” Prero said. “Bears absolutely can open doors — doors to residences, car doors,” she said. In Hayes and Bobby’s case, it was the garage door that gave the bear easy access into the house.

In Tahoe, which is near Hayes’ gated community, bear break-ins are common. Bears enter up to 15 homes every day during the summer, usually because of something as simple as an unlocked window.

The friends learned the hard way the consequences of carelessness in the middle of bear country. Even living in a gated community, Hayes realized, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re protected from the forces of nature — especially when nature has a hankering for ice cream.  

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Floridians Bob and Linda van der Herchen were dealing with their own deadly intruder; curious sounds were leaking from their attic, and, at first, it didn’t bother them too much.

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Now, upon hearing a bizarre noise coming from the vacant space just above your head, you might think about racing to get the house checked out. But Bob van der Herchen isn’t like you — he isn’t like most people.

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Considering Bob is in the removal business, he’s not skeeved out to get down and dirty with nature’s little pests. He just wasn’t motivated to get down and dirty with the one not paying rent in his attic. He usually works with bees, but Bob’s no exterminator.

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Bob owns the Bob van der Herchen Bee Removal & Rescue company, which aims to humanely remove honey bees from people’s properties and relocate them to a safer space. It’s an important job since bees play a vital role in our ecosystem.

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In fact, Bob cares so deeply about respecting bees that he’s visited schools to share the story of his company and the importance of bees with eager children. Bob knows bees, and he knew there weren’t any queens or trusty drone bees infesting his attic.

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“I didn’t think much of it. I thought maybe it was rats,” the bee expert said when asked about why he never thought to go up into the attic and see for himself. Luckily, there was someone else who was a bit more curious.

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Bob and Linda’s son, Adam, was a real worrywart. While his parents leisurely ignored the rustling above their noggins, Adam himself couldn’t take it anymore; especially considering his bedroom was directly underneath the attic.

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Tired of letting his own imagination run away with him, Adam knew it was time to get to work on solving this problem. He went to investigate the repetitive commotion, which led him to the utility room. Dun, dun, dun!

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While in the utility room, Adam looked above him, having witnessed blurred movement through the old slats of the ceiling. He got a quick peek at the dreaded infiltrator and was shocked. He sure wasn’t expecting a guest of this caliber.

Miami Herald

Adam rushed to tell his mother what he saw in the attic, which led her to take the frightening matter to Facebook. Linda posted a status that exclaimed “Home alone? Maybe, maybe not!”

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When Bob finally decided to involve himself in this game of Clue, he witnessed the squatter as well, but this time on camera. Needless to say, the footage would’ve given John Carpenter a run for his money.

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The van der Herchen family eventually resorted to calling animal control, but by the time an officer arrived to their home, the creature had already ventured far away from the ceiling opening, making the officer’s attempts to retrieve the invader a failure.

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Despite the failed capture mission, the Sarasota Animal Control officer saw enough to relay to the van der Herchens that their uninvited guest was, in fact, a giant, potentially dangerous snake. Gasp!

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The officer identified the slithering serpent as a diamondback rattlesnake, whose venom packs an often fatal punch. In the eloquent words of this animal control officer, “That’s a big old boy right there; that guy will kill you.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

National Geographic

If animal control couldn’t snatch the deadly snake, then who could? The van der Herchens even contacted their fearless, daredevil nephew to put him up to the challenge, but his attempts led to defeat as well. That’s when the family had one last idea.

Absolute History

They contacted Mark Lampart, a friend of a friend, via Facebook. Mark is no stranger to fearsome predators, as he’s posed with some of the world’s most dangerous specimens on multiple occasions, making him the right guy for this job!

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He took on the mission with full force, dedicating several hours to finding the pesky viper. When he discovered a large piece of dry, shed skin lying around the attic, Mark concluded that the snake was living with the van der Herchens for quite some time.

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After what felt like a never-ending battle of Mammalia versus Reptilia, Mark, the snake whisperer, nabbed the snake’s tail and yanked it from the ceiling’s insulation. It turns out that the animal control officer wrongfully identified the culprit.

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It was just a Colombian red-tailed boa constrictor. While the reptile is still considered dangerous, it’s not venomous. Boas have sharp fangs, but it’s their bodies that pose a danger. They use their muscles to restrict oxygen intake and blood circulation of other animals.

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So how did this big boy get in the van der Herchen attic? Well, younger boas are semi-arboreal, meaning they can climb trees.  “Animal control said it got on the roof from tree branches,” Linda disclosed to her Facebook friends.

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Thankfully, no one was wounded by the likely escaped exotic pet. If we have anything to say, it’s that the van der Herchens should demand that boa hand over years’ worth of rent! Snakes all over Florida are getting bolder.

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In the Sunshine State, they’ve made their homes where they shouldn’t, and none more so than the Burmese Python. They will eat anything from mice to adult deer, and as of a couple of decades ago, nobody in Florida even knew about them.

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As their name suggests, the reptiles are native to Asia’s tropics, but they were now running wild all over the Everglades. Scientists theorize that following the destruction of Hurricane Andrew, pythons escaped from a zoo and bred like wildfire.

Frank Mazzotti didn’t know quite where the snakes came from, but he was determined to stop them from spreading into densely populated areas, like Miami. The biologist swore to throw everything and the kitchen sink at them. But would that be enough?

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Everglades locals tried all kinds of tricks to root out the serpents. They put snake-sniffing dogs out in the marshes and even set loose radio-equipped “Judas snakes” to hopefully reveal their home base. The pythons only continued to grow.

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Word got around that the reptiles took over an abandoned Nike missile site. While that in and of itself didn’t threaten anyone, Floridians feared that if left unchecked, the pythons would breed at an incredible rate.

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Who knew — it could’ve only been a matter of time until the snakes expanded beyond the missile base and started showing up in places that were more…personal. The stakes were dire, but Frank learned of one group that could help.

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Deep in the forests of southern India, the Irula people have mastered snake catching. They see it as an art and take the practice incredibly seriously, even after India has slapped strict regulations on snake trading.

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In recent years, the Irulas have captured poisonous reptiles for the purpose of producing antivenoms. Clearly, there was nobody on Earth more qualified. But how could Floridians convince this tribe to help a community on the other side of the world?

Frank and his herpetologist pals managed to make contact with the Irulas, and to their surprise, the snake-catchers showed interest in helping them. Granted, the Floridians would have to shell out thousands of dollars and agree to some unusual methods.

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Hard as it was to believe, the Irulas didn’t use any state-of-the-art tools for finding and capturing snakes. Instead, their weapon of choice was something found in any garage: a tire iron.

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Contrary to what you might think, they didn’t intend these tire irons for a Simpsons-style Whacking Day. The Irula used them to clear a path through the brush and pick up snakes, but ultimately they tried to capture the reptiles alive when possible.

Simpsons World

So, Frank welcomed the best Irula hunters, Masi Sadaiyan and Vadivel Gopal, to the Everglades. While both men were in their 50s, they were at the top of their game. But the Floridians got nervous when the Irulas said they’d never before hunted snakes so large.

However, Masi and Vadivel smiled when they shared this fact. They were eager for the challenge, the chance to put their skills to the ultimate test. Granted, their brand of animal control was not without its risks.

From the start, the Irula’s tactics puzzled Frank and his friends. They insisted on marching blindly through the thickest part of the swamp. When a snake’s trail ended, Masi and Vadivel made everyone sit down, pray, and smoke a cigarette.

Frank’s hopes began to wane until one of the Irula’s pointed to a shimmer in the mud. Brandishing their trusty tire irons, Masi and Vadivel scooped up a fully-grown python! That was only the beginning.

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With a few more captures under their belts, the Irulas fearlessly plunged into an old missile shaft where herpetologists spotted a nest. The sharp-eyed hunters grasped a muscled python tail and spent hours wrestling it out of tree roots.

Miami Herald

In that one afternoon, the hunters pulled out four monstrous pythons from the overgrown missile shaft. They soon brought their total up to 14 over their first two weeks. While the Irulas couldn’t stay in the Everglades forever, they did the next best thing.

Masi and Vadivel shared their wisdom with the local wildlife management team, which never could’ve located these pythons with conventional techniques. The Irula knowledge could stem the invasion, so the Floridians wanted to give them something in return.

Besides paying the Irulas over $4,000 per python, the Floridians wanted to give them the real American experience. In between expeditions, they watched NFL games and ate hot dogs at Arbetter’s, their favorite greasy spoon.

Roadfood Forums

After a month, the Irulas returned to India feeling invigorated by the hunt of their lives. The Floridians knew they were quite fortunate to find experts to turn back the snake invasion, but of course, it wasn’t always possible to have heroes on hand.

Sometimes, everyday people have to use their wits to survive a deadly animal encounter. In the spring of 2017, a mother of four named Bianca Dickinson drove her youngest child, Molly, to the end of the long driveway cutting through her ranch in Victoria, Australia. There, she’d meet a snake.

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

But first, to pass the time while waiting for the school bus to drop off her older kids, Bianca had two-year-old Molly pose for a few photographs. For 15 minutes, the duo played and snapped silly pictures — until the fun came to an abrupt halt.

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

With the school bus in view down the road, Molly posed for one last photo beside a wire fence. She wore a huge grin and pointed behind herself, towards the grass blowing in the wind. It was the perfect photo… or was it?

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“I was looking through my camera lens and was looking at my daughter,” Bianca told ABC Australia. “I saw something move in the corner of my eye and actually thought it was bark coming off the tree.” But it wasn’t bark.

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What Bianca first assumed to be tree bark was actually an eastern brown snake, aka the second-most venomous snake in the entire world. And it was slithering right behind her little girl!

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

Venom from the eastern brown snake can paralyze victims and make their blood so thin that it seeps through their pores. Without immediate treatment, a single bite from this critter can send you to an early grave — and it has enough venom to kill 20 adults.

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So it was no surprise Bianca’s insides twisted into a cold heap when she saw one of these snakes just inches away from her baby girl. “I think [the snake] was touching her boots,” Bianca said. “It was that close.” But what could she do?

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“All my instincts wanted to run and pick her up and scream and run away,” Bianca said. However, that move, she knew, could’ve had deadly repercussions. If she did that, there was a chance the snake would feel threatened — and strike.

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Complicating the situation, Bianca had to convey to her daughter that there was a big, deadly snake behind her and not to make any sudden movements or take any violent steps backward…

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So what did the mother do? She just froze. In doing so, she communicated non-verbally to Molly that she should do the same. “Luckily,” Bianca said, “she copied me.” And the snake?

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Much to Bianca’s relief, the eastern brown snake slithered away, leaving Molly unharmed. As it disappeared into the tall grass, the school bus dropped off her three older children. But Bianca’s panic hadn’t subsided yet…

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

“I just started yelling at my other three kids to get in the car,” she said. “I got in the car and I was shaking.” And who could blame her? Her kids immediately noticed she wasn’t quite right.

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While on the drive back up the driveway, her 13-year-old daughter, Imogen (far left), asked, “What happened? Did you see a snake, mum?” Bianca nodded. “Yes,” she told the kids, and “it was at least two meters.” Her kids didn’t buy it.

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“Oh mum, it wasn’t that big!” Imogen said. But naturally, mother knew best. Back at home, she pulled out her camera and showed her kids the venomous reptile that’d come within inches of their little sister. And it shook them all.

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After seeing just how close Molly had come to the wrong end of a snake, Bianca’s older three kids didn’t want to go outside anymore. Worse, in showing the kids the photos, Bianca uncovered another nasty shock…

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

She’d been taking pictures of Molly for a while before the school bus showed up, and when she reviewed those photos, she learned just how long the snake had been in striking distance. The eastern brown snake posed beside Molly in three photos!

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

In the aftermath, Bianca couldn’t look at those now-infamous photos and didn’t sleep well for weeks. “Every time I shut my eyes I see that big snake and what could have happened,” she said. “I see Molly being taken away in an ambulance.”

But how did the two-year-old react to her brush with death? Well, when Bianca showed her daughter the photo, the toddler considered it for a moment. And then she said the funniest thing…

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

“That’s me!” Molly said gleefully, pointing at herself, blissfully unaware of the snake in the photo. Bianca couldn’t help but laugh. At least one of her kids wouldn’t end up scarred by the moment!

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

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