Hibernation is approaching black bears: here’s what to know

Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:
black bears
Credit: Salazar family surveillance camera video still image.

As Florida’s fall brings cooler weather, black bears are prepping for hibernation, which means they are looking for snacks. Here are some ways to keep your home and bears everywhere safe.

Black bears begin eating a lot more calories in the fall, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. During the season, bears eat around 20,000 calories per day. They will eat anything that’s convenient, including pet food or leftover scraps in garbage cans outside.

Out of all of Southwest Florida, Black bears have been spotted most often in Collier County, but there have been countless sightings across the state.

two black bears

Bear-proofing the outdoors, according to FWC

  • To keep the bears from getting junk food, secure your garbage in a safe place. You may want to consider putting trash out on the morning of pickup rather than the night.
  • Clean the outdoor grill and store it somewhere secure.
  • Feed pets indoors or bring their plates inside after feeding. You may also want to watch pets when they’re outside.
  • For all fruit lovers out there, keep track of the ripe fruit on trees and pick up the fallen fruit on the ground.
  • Be aware of bird feeders. Bring them inside or consider ways to make them bear-resistant.

Remember: it is illegal in Florida to intentionally feed bears or to leave out food or garbage that will attract bears and cause human-bear conflicts.

Click here to report a bear sighting.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.