Bear or raccoon? DEEP gives tips on what to do if you think a bear has been on your property
Sometimes you see something that’s a little different on your yard and wonder what it could be. That’s what happened to one resident of Sharon Court in Shelton.
After some research online, she thought the animal droppings she found in her yard might be from a bear. The Shelton Herald, a sister paper to the Times, sent the two photos from the resident to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to see what they thought.
“Our bear expert said it looks like raccoon scat,” said Dwayne Gardner, spokesperson. “Bear scat is usually in a very large pile, or formed, but regardless, much larger than this.”
Gardner said that if residents do suspect bears in their neighborhood there are things to keep in mind.
“If it is a bear, she does not necessarily have to be concerned if she takes a few steps to discourage their presence,” he said. “Black bears are usually docile and wary of people and will flee if they come into contact with them. If, however, they have discovered a food source near a home, they may become habituated to that area and lose their fear of humans. At that point, they might become a problem.
“Because of that, we strongly discourage people from ever feeding a bear (either intentionally or unintentionally). On our website, we offer a variety of tips that residents can take to minimize negative contact with bears.”
According to the website:
A bear near your home
Bears are attracted to the garbage, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees and birdfeeders around houses.
• Remove birdfeeders and bird food from late March through November.
• Eliminate food attractants by placing garbage cans inside a garage or shed. Add ammonia to trash to make it unpalatable.
• Clean and store grills away after use.
• Intentionally feed bears. Bears that become accustomed to finding food near your home may become “problem” bears.
• Leave pet food outside overnight.
• Add meat or sweets to a compost pile.
A bear while hiking
Bears normally leave an area once they’ve sensed a human. If you see a bear, enjoy it from a distance. Aggression by bears towards humans is exceptionally rare, the DEEP website says.
• Make your presence known by making noise and waving your arms if you see a bear while hiking.
• Keep dogs on a leash and under control. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.
• Walk away slowly if you surprise a bear nearby.
• Cook food near your tent or store food inside your tent. Instead, keep food in a secure vehicle or use rope to suspend it between two trees.
• Climb a tree. In fact, you should wait in a vehicle or building for the bear to leave an area, the website says.