A Surprise Face to Face Meeting
Who Knew This is Bear Country?
I live in a northwest suburb of Orlando. The house is in a good-sized, well wooded subdivision. The houses in the neighborhood were built mostly in the 70's and early 80's, and most of the trees were preserved. A large state park exists about a mile and a half away. I've read accounts of bears in the area but had never actually seen one outside the state park. A black bear mauled a woman in an adjacent town recently, so I know not all the bears are harmless.
When I went outside to tell the neighbors of the animal sighting, folks were already in the street talking about our new friend. The fellow across the street couldn't get to his truck because the bear was squatting down and munching on some trash between the house and his truck. Apparently, the bear is a frequent visitor to our subdivision. I'm glad I know that now!
My backyard bear was not overtly threatening. He wanted to be left alone. Perhaps he would have been more threatening if I approached. In any event, I had no wish to test the limits of the bear's nonthreatening nature. We both shared a common interest in avoiding contact.
What to Do?
We called the county animal control agency, who referred us over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Commission representative on the phone said to contact them again if the bear stays around for a couple weeks. If the bear isn't exhibiting any kind of threat, the Commission isn't inclined to do anything about him ambling through or otherwise camping out in the neighborhood. They suggested leaving out trash cans as late as possible prior to pick up and carrying an air horn when taking a walk. They advised trying to scare the bear with noise. Otherwise, leave the bear alone so that he will leave you alone.
I am curious what the bear found fascinating about my pool screen enclosure. Maybe the pool looked inviting. Thank goodness he was only pushing on the screen instead of barreling through without testing! My heart rate was high enough from the close proximity. Having a large animal jumping through the screen would have sent me over the edge.
Our four-legged friends need ample space to wander and roam without intruding on our
After reporting the backyard bear to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, they mailed a cool brochure called "A Guide to Living in Bear Country." I'll read it after I hitch up the wagon. I wonder if the bears get Florida Resident discounts at Disney? Probably not if they don't carry proper ID's.