When living in suburbia, waking up to discover your car’s hood and grill had been mauled by a black bear is not one of the things you might anticipate happening in advance. It surely did not make for the most pleasant Valentine’s Day surprise when a resident of the Hollywood subdivision of Suffolk, Virginia awoke that morning to find extensive damage to his car by a bear foraging for food.
Fortunately for the resident and his neighbors, when the bear was unable to peel the hood away from the top of the car in order to get to the food left there overnight, the bear left to look elsewhere for his sustenance. They may want to be extra alert, however, as bears are known to return to the same area looking for food for up to two weeks.
Officials from the City of Suffolk distributed a news release on Friday which provided both information about bears, in general, and tips on how to prevent bears from seeking food in your yard. The release emphasized how highly intelligent bears are, making them able to associate people’s home with food.
Some of the tips included are:
- Store garbage indoors, in a shed, in a garage or a bear-proof container. Put garbage out the morning of its scheduled pick-up rather than the night before.
- Either feed pets indoors or remove food bowls after feeding them outdoors.
- Remove bird feeders as bears are attracted to them.
- Keep the outdoor grill clean.
- Do not place meat scraps or aromatic foods in compost piles.
- Pick up and remove fresh fruit from fruit trees and grounds surrounding them.
- Do not leave food in unattended vehicles.
Citizens were also reminded not to feed bears on either private or public property because it is illegal. By all means, if you spot a bear on or near your property, leave it alone. Keep others and pets away from it.
In Suffolk, you should call the non-emergency dispatch number (757-923-2350) of the Suffolk Police Department if you believe you have a bear problem. It is likely that citizens in other vicinities should call the non-emergency dispatch number of their local police department for the same reason.