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Bears spotted in St. Johns County, expert suggests these tips to avoid problems

According to the FWC, bears are usually inactive from January to April.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — In Florida, wildlife officials said they receive more than 5,000 calls about bears every year.

In fact, the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission said between St. Johns County and Ocala (Marion County), there is about one bear for every three-square-miles. 

One viewer sent First Coast News video of a bear wandering around their St. Johns County backyard. It was spotted around 3:30, Sunday morning. David Telesco, who observes bears, said the animal is most likely looking for food. 

Telesco describes the bear seen in the video as a young male. He said it is "long and leggy" 

"He's not quite filled out and that's very typical this time of year," Telesco said.

From January to April, experts said these animals aren't as active. One shouldn't be surprised to see them come out during Spring. Telesco said it is typical to see young bears near homes. He said explained how the mother bear usually pushes away the young males. 

"They'll hang around neighborhoods and things like that, so they're no getting picked on by other bears," Telesco added. 

To Telesco, leaving garbage out before trash day is an incentive for a bear to frequently visit one's neighborhood. If someone were to come across a Black bear, Telesco highly suggested they don't play dead. He said playing dead is for Brown bears. 

Plus, running away won't help, the FWC said it only trigger the animal's chase instinct. 

"Yell at it, clap your hands, because you don't want the bear to feel like your backyard is a nice, comfortable place for you to be," Telesco said. 

Despite Florida's recent increase in its human population, the FWC said the bear population is growing too. 

Plus, it is adapting to new habitats. Telesco said bears don't want to be seen. It usually keeps to itself in the wooded areas.

However, it is not uncommon to see it active at night when humans aren't around. 

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