CDFW News | Secure that Crawl Space: Keep Tahoe Bears Wild! – California Department of Fish and Wildlife

CDFW News | Secure that Crawl Space: Keep Tahoe Bears Wild! – California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Secure that Crawl Space: Keep Tahoe Bears Wild!

A black bear in the Lake Tahoe area finds the crawl space underneath a property to its liking. CDFW photo.

LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev. — Winter is coming and as bears search for dens for the cold months ahead, they may decide that your house in the Lake Tahoe Basin is just the right place.

Black bears typically enter dens between mid-November and December. Wild bears usually look for natural dens in rock crevices, under fallen logs or hollow trees, or dig into the root mass of trees. However, in the Tahoe Basin many homes and properties can become a replacement for natural dens, especially:

  • Outbuildings
  • Porches, decks and crawl spaces
  • Vacation homes
  • Campers and RVs

Bears will often look for easy entry routes, like vents and doors, that they can rip open to gain access. They can fit in very small openings. Generally, if a bear can get its head inside, the rest of the bear can follow.

Once underneath a house they will often pull down insulation for bedding or scoop up available debris, like pine needles, to create their winter beds. This activity often causes damage to wiring for cable or electricity, piping that supplies heat to the home, and even water or gas lines. This type of damage can be costly to repair, can leave you without heat for the winter, and can cause flooding or fires. Many repair companies will not provide their services if they know a bear is under a house or if they are unable to access the damaged area safely. Occasionally bears will rip open access to the inside of a home and try to spend the winter indoors.

Allowing a bear to access space in your home is detrimental. This type of habituation can lead to conflicts, not just for your properties, but also for your neighbors’ properties. It is also imperative that female bears do not teach their offspring to seek this type of denning. Additionally, bears run the risk of injuring themselves in their attempts to gain entrance.

Check Outbuildings

Check garages, storage sheds and outbuildings and remove any items that could potentially be an attractant (birdseed, garbage, pet foods, sweet smelling cleaners).

Secure All Crawl Spaces

Securing your crawl space is one way to help prevent the likelihood of an unwanted guest. Openings that lead under your house should be boarded up with thick plywood that fits inside the seams. If you cover the opening, you create an edge that bears can use as a handle to rip off the wood. If you insert the plywood so it’s flush against the siding, or line it up with existing trim, there is nothing for the bear to grab onto and pull. Instead of nails, use screws to secure the plywood to the building. This can also be done on ground-level windows or other vulnerable points of entry. Check out our video here.

Winterize Vacation Homes

Winterizing your home is another way to help deter bears from …….


Home Insulation Services