Winter is coming, so Florida black bears are fattening up in preparation

Bears start to eat more calories in the fall to accumulate the extra fat needed during the winter months. Bears will consume up to 20,000 calories per day and will snack on whatever is convenient for them, including what’s in your garbage.

There are approximately 1,000 bears in South Florida living in the Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park conservation areas. Bears are found all over Florida and occasionally visit neighborhoods. If the bears cannot find food, they will leave.

State wildlife officials are trying to raise awareness of ways to protect both people and bears by securing trash and other items that could attract bears to yards and neighborhoods. According to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), when people intentionally or inadvertently feed bears, it’s a lose-lose situation.

As bears become dependent on a food source, they are more likely to frequent residential areas and possibly cause property damage to obtain these unnatural food sources. Over time, they get used to, gradually lose their fear of humans, and frequently return to places where food is accessible.

It may take several weeks after implementing preventative methods before a bear realizes that the food source is no longer available.

BearWise communities are committed to learning how to coexist with bears, know when and how to report bear activity, and secure all potential food sources.

We get BearWise advice and learn bear behavior in Florida from a biologist in the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Bear Management Program.


  • Mike Orlando, bear management program with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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