For Shannon Stevens, the toilet trouble wasn't your average nighttime animal encounter
Encountering a critter during a nighttime trip to an outhouse isn't all that unusual, but imagine getting bitten on the rear by a bear the moment you sat down to do your business.
That very thing happened to an Alaska woman last week when she used an outhouse in the backcountry and was attacked from below by a bear.
I got out there and sat down on the toilet and immediately something bit my butt right as I sat down, Shannon Stevens told The Associated Press. I jumped up and I screamed when it happened.
Stevens had joined her brother Erik and his girlfriend at his yurt located about 20 miles northwest of Haines, in Southeast Alaska.
When her brother heard her screaming, he went to the outhouse, about 150 feet away from the yurt, where he found Shannon tending to her wound. At first, they thought she'd been bitten by a small animal, like a squirrel or a mink. But when he peered down into the opening of the toilet under the light of his headlamp, he discovered a much larger creature.
I opened the toilet seat and there's just a bear face just right there at the level of the toilet seat, just looking right back up through the hole, right at me, he said. I just shut the lid as fast as I could. I said, 'There's a bear down there, we got to get out of here now. And we ran back to the yurt as fast as we could.
When they returned to the yurt, they treated Shannon's minor injury with a first-aid kit.
It was bleeding, but it wasn't super bad, Shannon said.
The next morning, they discovered bear tracks all over the property, but no bear. You could see them across the snow, coming up to the side of the outhouse, she said.
They said the bear most likely got inside the outhouse through an opening at the bottom of the back door.
I expect it's probably not that bad of a little den in the winter, Shannon said.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife management biologist Carl Koch said according to the tracks he saw, it was most likely a black bear. Also, a neighbor living about a half-mile away sent him a photo of a black bear on her property two days later.
Erik says from now own, he'll carry bear spray with him when going into the backcountry, and Shannon plans to take extra precautions as well.
I'm just going to be better about looking inside the toilet before sitting down, for sure, she said.