You never know what kind of footage is going to come out of a Florida backyard. Last week, we shared a clip of an alligator “death rolling” a snake on the banks of a residential pond in the community of Nocatee. This week, we have security camera footage of a furious fight between two black bears that played out beneath backyard floodlights in the panhandle town of Mary Esther, Florida.
The 30-second clip starts off with a sow and three cubs milling around between flower pots on a concrete patio. Suddenly, an air horn cuts through the silence. Then, out of nowhere, another bear scales a small picket fence and charges toward the sow at full speed. See the chaotic scene for yourself below.
According to the timestamp on the video, the incident took place on July 8. The homeowner blasted the air horn in an attempt to haze the bears off of his property, Fox Weather reported. “I spent 20 years in the Army and saw some pretty crazy things, but I never saw anything like that,” the man told Storyful, the outlet that obtained the rights to his video footage. “Everyone I showed that video to have all said the same thing: ‘Wow, never seen that before.’”
The three cubs darted from the frame as soon as the adult bears began fighting. Once engaged, the bruins knocked over flower plants and trampled the landscaping before taking their tussle into a different part of the yard where a separate camera continued filming.
Neither bear seemed keen on backing down, but the sow appeared to chase her challenger away just before the video cut out. Eventually, she gathered her cubs and left the area, according to the homeowner—identified only as Chris. The whole ordeal resembled a UFC cage match without the cage, Chris later told Storyful.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), black bears have reclaimed 49 percent of their historic range in the Sunshine State. The western panhandle, where the above clip was filmed, holds some of the highest black bear densities in the state. If you encounter a black bear in close range in Florida, FWC recommends speaking to the bear in a calm, assertive voice, standing your ground, and avoiding direct eye contact.