LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRON) — A Lake Tahoe homeowner had quite a spring surprise when she discovered five bears hibernated under her house for the winter.

At one point during the winter, the homeowner and other residents who live in the house thought they heard an odd low rumbling that sounded a lot like snoring. But they never investigated.

“The neighbors said they were imagining it because they didn’t hear anything,” the BEAR League wrote.

Earlier this week, the mama bear woke up from her long slumber and started making unmistakable bear noises in a crawl space under the house.

The startled homeowner called the BEAR League to evict the big furry animal.

“The bear family awoke and prepared to exit and the people in the house could no longer deny there was probably a bear under the house. We arrived immediately. We un-invited Mama Bear, not yet aware there were four more bears under the house,” the BEAR League wrote.

Not long after mama bear emerged from under the house, four 1-year-old cubs followed her out.

“It was quite the scene to then watch the four yearling cubs emerge from the opening and join together on the other side of the fence to venture forth into 2022,” the BEAR League wrote.

A black bear catches salmon in a creek on Oct. 24, 2017, in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Bear family was familiar to local experts

Lake Tahoe bear experts were familiar with the bear family.

Last year, the mother had three active, chubby cubs following her around. When the cubs were a few months old, their mother found and adopted an orphan cub who was the same age as her own cubs.

Bear experts said the mother must have ushered her family into an unsecured crawl space opening because she thought it would be a cozy, safe winter den for her big family.

The black bear family was likely under the house for about four months, according to the BEAR League.

The BEAR League is a nonprofit organization that advocates for people coexisting peacefully with native wildlife to keep bears wild and free. 

The incident happened in the wake of state wildlife officials alerting Lake Tahoe residents to expect “increased bear activity” as the animals wakeup from hibernating.

Some of the bears enjoyed a people-free Lake Tahoe last fall because residents were evacuated from the 2021 Caldor Fire. The Caldor Fire’s evacuation period will have “rippling and lasting effects” on bear behavior for seasons to come, wildlife officials said.