Living in Florida often means close encounters – sometimes terrifying – with wildlife.
While this is not uncommon to hear. Sightings of snakes, sharks or even gatorspeople have been coming face to face with a more unexpected creature in recent years.
Recent viral videos have shown an increasing number of encounters between bears and humans in Florida neighborhoods.
But why are these sightings becoming more frequent, and how can humans protect themselves from bear encounters?
What Kinds of Bears Live in Florida?
When we talk about bears in Florida, We are talking about a black bear.which are the only bear species found in the Sunshine State.
FWC biologists estimate that there are about 4,050 black bears in Florida today.
An adult male black bear typically weighs between 250 and 350 pounds, while a female typically weighs between 130 and 180 pounds.
The largest adult male black bear in Florida weighed 760 pounds and the largest adult female weighed 460 pounds.
According to the FWC, adult male black bears typically occupy an area of 60 square miles, while females typically occupy an area of 15 square miles.
Black bear breeding season in Florida runs from June to August and cubs are born early the following year. Female bears have their first litter at about 3 ½ years of age and usually have one litter every other year.
Why are bear collisions becoming more common in Florida?
Since the 1980s, black bear populations have been growing alongside our human population. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Florida has grown from about 5 million residents in 1960 to more than 20 million today, resulting in urban sprawl across the state.
“Urban sprawl is encroaching on traditionally remote areas, driving people into prime bear habitat,” the FWC website states. “As a result, bears and people are encountering each other more than ever before.”
While FWC maps show fewer bear sightings in Southeast Florida than in other parts of the state, they still occur.
Just a few months ago, A black bear appeared Running around the Homestead neighborhood, and even walking up to a resident’s door.
NBC6’s Ari Odzer has more on the incident that some people had their eyes on.
How to keep bears out of homes and neighborhoods
FWC Bear Biologist Mike Orlando said the bears are mainly just looking for food. NBC affiliate WESH-TV. “That’s all they’re doing, all the time looking for food.”
While ring camera video of a bear on your front step looks great, the FWC advises that the best way to enjoy bears is from a distance.
This means keeping them away from food sources such as garbage, pet food and birdseed.
“All it takes is one person to leave their garbage or pet food to continue this behavior,” Orlando said.
New technology is designed to help keep bears out of our trash and homes, with bear-resistant trash cans equipped with moving water sprinklers, alarms and air horns.
However, sometimes empty garbage cans and bird feeders can also attract bears because they know what they look like.
What danger do bears pose to our pets?
Dogs and bears just don’t get along, and experts say the leash makes all the difference.
Orlando says that although a dog can bark, it can’t engage a bear while on a leash. This means that the bear will not feel the need to defend itself because the dog is not approaching.
Oh The famous video Color camera footage over the summer shows a Florida woman leaving her home to walk her dog, when a black bear appeared on her front doorstep.
Her dog, which was fortunately on a leash, barked loudly at the bear, which – combined with the woman’s screams – immediately scared the bear away.
The woman and her dog were leaving the house when the dog started barking. Moments later, a bear appears to pounce on the dog.
How to stay safe if you encounter a bear
Bears are excellent climbers and often climb trees when they are frightened.
But what happens when a bear is scared? you?
Orlando says the most important thing is to stay calm and not try to run away from the bear.
“If you see a bear and you run in the opposite direction, the bear is going to go, ‘Hey, that thing’s moving! I’ve got to chase it!’ And they probably don’t even know why,” Orlando said. “But it’s part of their biology.”
Instead, if you encounter a bear in your neighborhood, you’ll want to make yourself look really big and speak loud and strong. Then, you can gradually retreat into your home.
If you’re out for a walk and there’s nowhere to retreat, experts say it’s also a good idea to carry bear spray.