Black Bears in Florida Communities

A common sight in Zoos and National parks is a Black Bear, however, sometimes we can see them in our own backyard. Several Leland communities have daily encounters with these real life teddy bears. Black bears, who are protected under the list of threatened species, are the only bears found in Florida. Black Bears are similar to other types of bears with the exception of their genetic and skeletal makeup. Their fur color is black but bear-backdoortheir muzzle is brown and some have blonde or white “blazes” on their chest in varying shapes and sizes. The height of the bear will vary naturally and also depends on diet. Bears who rummage through trash cans and consume food intended for humans typically grow larger than those who don’t due to the high caloric value. Larger populations of the Black Bear can be found in six core areas due to urban development of their natural habitat. These areas include Elgin, Apalchicola, Osceola, Ocala and the St. Johns, Big Cypress and the Ever Glades.  Preventing
bears from becoming a new resident in your community starts with you. Here are five tips that you can use to prevent Black Bears from being drawn to your home.

  1. Don’t leave pets or pet food outside at night.
  2. Keep all waste in airtight bags and consider bear resistant bins.
  3. Hang any bird feeders out of their reach.
  4. Keep garage doors closed and motion lights off.
  5. Consider the use of an electronic fence.

If you do encounter a Black Bear in your neighborhood please contact your local fish and wildlife conservation commission.

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