Bear just hangin' curbside by Duluth mall's Noodles & Co.

Ryan Carlson/Facebook

Ryan Carlson/Facebook

Even at 3 a.m., that craving for Zucchini Truffle Mac can hit you. Just ask this Duluth black bear. 

The above image was captured in the wee hours of Wednesday morning outside Miller Hill Mall's Noodles & Co. by security officer Ryan Carlson, according to mall GM Katie Kaz. The noodle-crazed beast was outta luck for several reasons, including its total disregard for business hours and the fact it's a dang bear. Even though the mall is temporarily closed during the COVID-19 outbreak, Noodles is offering takeout and curbside delivery, so the bear could try back later. 

Is Minnesota's current stay-at-home order resulting in nature reclaiming the earth and our fast-casual restaurants? We asked Andy Tri, a wildlife research biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, a version of that question. 

"There are no huge trends right now, but it is safe to assume that if people are sheltered in place, bears are more likely to be seen by people at home," he says, adding that global reports of animals appearing in unusual places during coronavirus are "pretty incredible."

Miller Hill Mall, which sits near Miller Creek, is a natural hotspot for bears, Tri says. 

"The Duluth area has a lot of potential from the bear’s point of view," he explains. "If you look at the layout of the city, it has multiple creeks and other vegetation corridors that give bears easy access to town and to places like the mall."

What should you, a human, do if you encounter a bear at the mall or in the wild? Consult this handy resource from the DNR. If only Homer Simpson had...