A child in Alaska received a first birthday party to remember when a black bear crashed in through the ceiling skylight and proceeded to help itself to cupcakes.
The young male, estimated to have weighed around 180 pounds (82kg), climbed unnoticed up onto the roof of Alicia Bishop and Glenn Merrill’s home while they were preparing the living room for their son Jackson’s party.
Mr Merrill was laying things out – thankfully still with a short while to go before the arrival of guests – when he heard a cracking sound as a skylight started to give way.
The bear then crashed down into the middle of the room and, Mr Merrill told the Juneau Empire newspaper, it was hard to say “who was more stunned” out of the two of them.
He told the newspaper: “I head this cracking, and the next thing you know there’s this bear that fell right from the skylight. It was like three feet away from me.”
Mr Merrill ran from the room and, as Ms Bishop watched through a glass door from the kitchen, the bear picked itself up and started tucking the birthday treats on a table.
She said: “The bear walks over and puts its paws up on the table and starts licking his birthday cupcakes, and I’m just like, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
After leaving baby Jackson safely guarded by his grandparents upstairs, Mr Merrill returned to shoo the bear out of an open door. After a short while it “casually” obliged.
Ryan Scott of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the home in Juneau was part of a neighbourhood where there is a high chance of “running into or observing a bear”.
“Bears are extremely curious and will stake out any source of food they can find,” he added.
Scott said officials believe the cupcake-loving bear might have been the same one that entered another occupied home in the same neighbourhood around 30 minutes later.
Juneau police officers were called to both incidents, and at the second they shot and killed the bear involved because, Scott said, it was so habituated it now posed a threat to human life. Officials said that while the descriptions closely matched one another, there was no way of knowing if they were the same bear.
“We don't take killing or destroying bears lightly,” Scott said. “People were inside that building. I think it was appropriate for that given the situation.”