Large black bear spotted in Suffolk neighborhood

SUFFOLK, Va. - The drive home from dinner took an interesting turn for a Suffolk mother and daughter.

On Thursday night they spotted a large black bear walking down Nansemond Parkway, stopping in a neighbor's yard.

Photo courtesy of Tracey G.

They called police and waited for the bear to walk into the woods instead of into the main roadway.

A spokesperson for the city says it's not uncommon to see black bears in some of the more rural sections of the city, but they should not be approached for any reason.

Most of the time, bears are in neighborhoods because they smell food. Neighbors can minimize their chances of having a bear visit their home by getting rid of traces of food. To do that they suggest the following:

  • Secure your garbage: Store garbage indoors, in a shed, in a garage, or in a bear-proof container.
  • Put garbage out the morning of pick-up, not the night before.
  • Pick up pet food. Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors.  Remove the food bowl soon after pets finish.  Pick up uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.
  • Remove the bird feeder: Bears consume seed and nuts found in the wild, so bird feeders become a favored target for bears.
  • Clean the outdoor grill often.
  • Do not put meat scraps or any other strong-smelling food in the compost pile. Consider an enclosed compost bin.
  • Do not leave strong-smelling food in your vehicles.
  • Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.

Additional extensive information and a video regarding “Living with Black Bears in Virginia” is available on the Suffolk Police Department’s website.