Conservation Wildlife Management

Canadian “Caffeine Bear” Breaks into Car, Chugs 69 Cans of Soda

The black bear seemed to prefer Orange Crush and regular cola. It wanted nothing to do with the Diet Coke
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The black bear broke into the vehicle around 3 a.m. and drank all but three of the soda cans that were inside. Courtesy of Sharon Rosel

As a resident of rural British Columbia, Sharon Rosel has been around bears all her life. Rosel also owns and operates a food truck in the town of Earls Cove, so she knows better than to leave food in her vehicle overnight. She never thought about cans of soda as a potential bear attractant. But after a black bear broke into her vehicle to guzzle her stash of sodas—and destroyed the interior in the process, she won’t be making that assumption ever again.

Rosel was awakened by her dog around 3 a.m. on April 13, and she looked out the window to see a large black bear outside her vehicle, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports. Surrounded by shattered glass, the bear was slurping down a can of Orange Crush it had pilfered from the passenger seat. Then it drank another can, then another…and then another. Over the next 90 minutes, Rosel watched from her balcony as the black bear chugged 69 of 72 cans, trashing her car’s interior and making a sticky mess of everything.

“He was drinking massive amounts of soda,” Rosel told CBC, noting that she had intended to sell the sodas in her food truck. “I’ve been around bears since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and I have never seen them go after pop.”

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The bear wrecked the car's interior and covered it in sticky liquid. Courtesy of Sharon Rosel

At one point, Rosel explained, she tried throwing cold water on the bear from her balcony, which had no effect on the sugar-crazed bruin. She then tried to reason with the bear, saying she needed her car for work the next day, and that she’d bought all those sodas to sell in her food truck. But the bear kept on cracking into fresh cans.

“Then I tried psyching him out by telling him I was a bear hunter,” Rosel added. “That didn’t do anything either, so I had to stand by and just watch him devour my car.”

She said the bear seemed to prefer Orange Crush. After downing a case or two of those, it moved onto cola and then polished off all the root beer. All in all, the bear put down 69 of the 72 soda cans that were inside the vehicle. The only cans it didn’t touch were the diet sodas.

The bear finally left, and the next morning Rosel took some photographs of the wrecked car, which was surrounded by crushed, empty cans. Security footage showed that the black bear had smashed her window with a noise “like a gunshot.” She now hopes that insurance will help cover the damages, and she has a whole new respect for a black bear’s sense of smell.

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“He was in pretty good shape, but he was hungry and that was my mistake,” Rosel said. “I never thought [bears] could smell pop through a can.”