Of all the ways to wake up, finding your feet in a black bear’s mouth is probably one of the least pleasant. A man in Lazy Glen, Colorado woke up from an afternoon nap on his porch when he discovered a bear nibbling on him. According to the Aspen Times, at one point the bear had clasped its jaws entirely around the man’s ankle.
Seventy-seven-year-old Peter Rizzuto was not alarmed—at least at first.
“I started petting it and saying ‘nice doggy,’” Rizzuto said, adding that he initially mistook the bruin for an unusually large dog. “It then took my ankle but didn’t break the skin. Then I saw and looked down at his feet, and I see these big claws with really beautiful nails, and at this time I realize he’s a bear, being the hick I am, but not really. I’ve lived here 45 years.”
While the bear was certainly no German shepherd, Rizzuto described the bear as medium-sized and relatively gentle. The bear quickly ended its taste testing after Rizzuto woke up and simply stared at the man until he went inside the house.
“I guess he didn’t like the taste,” Rizzuto joked.
Reuters reported that Rizzuto informed the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department the next day, but ultimately declined to have bear traps placed on his property. Wildlife officials said they are concerned because bears that show little fear of humans—and decide to chew on one, no matter how lightly—could be dangerous.
According to the Durango Herald, a bear was killed in southwestern Colorado late last month after reportedly attacking two people near downtown Durango. The victims were camping illegally near the Durango Tech Center when a bear began biting and clawing them. Officials said that bear was likely drawn to the makeshift campsite due to the amount of food and refuse nearby. Wildlife officers later put the bear down.
Rizzuto said he did not want traps on his property because children regularly walk through it. He did add however, that he will be taking his naps inside from now on.