A 62-year-old Texan grandmother shares her life with three unconventional pets - two bears and a tiger.
Watch the video and answer the questions below.
1 What does Bonnie Heart do for a living?
2 How did Bonnie get Anushka, the tiger?
3 How much does she spend on the animals every month?
4 What kind of food do the bears enjoy the most?
5 What weapons does she have to protect herself in case of an attack?
6 Who’s allowed to see and interact with the animals?
7 What are the benefits of owning and looking after animals for Bonnie?
Well, let’s put it this way. They are exotics, they are dangerous animals.
62-year-old truck driver Bonnie Heart keeps two grizzly bears and a white tiger in her back garden. With a combined weight of over 600 pounds, Pebbles and Bam-Bam have lived with Bonnie since they were cubs, and if that wasn’t enough, six-year-old white Bengal tiger, Anushka, lives in the pen next door.
These bears have been around a lot of people. They don’t know tricks, they don’t know to sit, lay down, stand-up on a box. But you can get in there, you can love on them and you can pat them and I’ve socialised them a lot. Me and Anushka are, you know, I’m momma and she is baby. And, I mean, I can hand feed her, I can pet her, I can do whatever I want with her.
Anushka was given to Bonnie as a gift, when she was just a cub. But surprisingly, it was her dog that one day brought the two bears into her home.
And I’m sitting on the porch, drinking coffee one morning, and I look out there by the pond, and here comes my black dog, just trotting, little trot, going across, and right him is two little black things following him. And I thought they were other dogs, and as they got closer, I went holy-moly, they are bears.
Looking after these animals is an expensive business.
You’re looking at probably $1,000-1,500 more a month, just to feed these animals. I feed her probably between 14 and 20 pounds a day and she eats beef, pork, chicken, stuff like that.
There you go. You want it? There you go. Feed the bear.
These bears, I’ve tried, I’ve tried fish, I’ve tried salmon. They don’t want it. They want their berries, their watermelons, their cantaloupe, their candy. They love cookies, marshmallows, they love anything that is sweet and they will almost mug you for honey.
Despite her close relationship with the animals, Bonnie has always been aware of just how dangerous they could be.
I have tranquilliser guns, so we can tranquillise them if we have to. Nobody is going to get hurt, not unless you just climb into the pen and be stupid. Pebbles can get a little cantankerous at times, and she’d slap me with her claws and has bit at me a couple of times, but nothing like attack me. I have the taser, I only have that if I’m out here by myself and I can’t get help.
Bonnie also lets her grandchildren interact with them.
I think it’s a little bit crazy that she likes having tigers and bears.
I think it’s really cool, I mean it’s definitely a different experience. Bears are my favourite animal, like overall. I don’t go in the tiger pen, because, you know, it’s a tiger.
Bonnie regularly has people over to see her animals.
My neighbours, the love it. They bring their families over.
But if someone tried to take them away, it would be a very different story.
I would shoot them.
Point blank! Come on my property and try to take my animals, I don’t care if it’s tigers, bears, horses or dogs. Somebody is gonna get shot. There isn’t one out here that I don’t care for. It has changed me. I mean, I’ve been doing this since I was a little girl. It makes you have responsibility, it makes you realise that life is precious, and you should enjoy every moment of it.
1 She’s a truck driver
2 It was a present
3 Between $1,000 and $1,500
4 Anything sweet, especially honey
5 Tranquilliser guns and a taser
6 Everybody, family (grandchildren, neighbours and their families
7 It makes you have responsibility, it makes you realise that life is precious, and you should enjoy every moment of it.