A black bear died from heat exhaustion when it got trapped inside a car it had broken into.
The lone animal in Sevierville, Tennessee found itself unable to escape after gaining entry to the vehicle and was eventually killed by the extreme temperatures inside, which may have reached 60C (140F).
After leaving the car outside the rental cabin at around 10am on Thursday (June 23), the owner returned at 6:45pm to find the lifeless bear slumped over on a seat.
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It was most likely unable to operate the door from the inside after having opened it with its teeth or paws.
An official from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wrote on Facebook: “It appears that the bear got inside the car by using its teeth or paws to open the unlocked door and was trapped inside after the door shut behind it”
“We believe that heat likely killed the bear as outside temperatures exceeded 95 degrees yesterday meaning the vehicle’s interior possibly reached over 140 degrees,”
The incident has prompted wildlife officials to issue a warning about not luring the creatures into accidental death traps.
North American black bears have noses "7 times better than a bloodhound", they said, and can be tempted into an enclosed space by "even the faintest odour of food inside a vehicle".
Items stated to have special appeal to them include sweet wrappers, fast food bags and air fresheners. Pictures from the car involved in Thursday's incident show empty food and drink containers on the floor.
They advised that drivers "lock your doors, roll up your windows, and never leave food or anything that smells like food inside".
Another family in the United States was given an unexpected shock back in April when they found five huge black bears living under their home without them knowing.
After hearing increasingly loud noises from down below, they hired a team to check under the holiday home in South Lake Tahoe, California only to find a mother bear and four cubs – and they had apparently been living there since December.
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