This bear was spotted on Hillside Drive on July 18 in the Lake Gertrude neighborhood of Mount Dora.
Guess who’s coming to breakfast? Two uninvited visitors caught Mount Dora resident Sarah Zimmerman by surprise this morning when she spotted them in front of her Lake Gertrude area home. The hilly neighborhood is popular with morning walkers and runners.
Zimmerman saw the adult black bear and her cub for approximately fifteen minutes beginning at 6:15. When the bears ran away it was in the direction of Hillside Drive.
“She was not scared of me at all and wasn’t aggressive, however our front yard is fenced and I made no attempt to go out of the fence,” said Sarah Zimmermann who lives on Hilltop Drive near Normandy. She stated the bear was also at their house on Saturday.
Bears have always been a part of Mount Dora, however development and destruction of their habitat pushes more of them into residential areas. Additionally, summer is breeding season when males search for mates and females forage for food.
In Florida, adult black bears on average weigh between 250 to 450 pound for males and 125 to 250 pounds for females. The largest bears in the state were found roaming Seminole County neighborhoods in 2015. Those bears were attracted to human-provided food or garbage, according to the Florida Wildlife Commission.
Bear reports have increased five times over the last ten years, accordingly to FWC. Here are some safety tips for dealing with bears and suggestions on how to avoid attracting them:
Running away can trigger an animal’s chase instinct, so it’s recommended to back away slowly.
Bears don’t like loud noise. To scare them off bang pots and pans together or use a marine air-horn.
Walkers and runners should carry a whistle in areas where bears are known to visit.
Never leave food out for bears or ‘cute’ cubs. It puts you and your neighbors at risk.
Garbage cans can provide a buffet for hungry bears and conditions them to return for food. Keep garbage can in your garage and only put out the morning of trash pick-up.
Feed your pets inside. Bears are attracted to pet food.
Remove wildlife feeders from your yard.
Thoroughly clean outdoor grills after use
Screen enclosures do not deter bears, so keep pet food and other attractants inside.
Pick ripe fruit from trees and pick up fruit on the ground.
If you see or suspect someone of feeding bears, contact FWC here.