HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- When Joyce Dykes left her West End home Friday morning to run some errands, she got quite a shock.
While stopped at Homeview Drive and Parham Road, near Tucker High School, Dykes saw a large animal running around front yards across the street.
"I said, 'Oh 💩. A bear. A black bear.' And I pulled out my phone to get video," Dykes said.
She also called Henrico Police to report the sighting.
Her video clip captured the bear running across Parham Road.
Dykes said she's lived in the area since 2014 and this was her first neighborhood bear encounter.
"We're going to make sure our garbage is secure," Dykes said upon learning about her new neighbor.
This isnot the first bear sighting in Henrico this year.
"It is very common this time of year to see bears out and about," Henrico Police previously wrote on Twitter.
Bears are typically attracted to neighborhoods in search of food.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources offered the following advice to reduce the likelihood a bear would be attracted to your home:
- Secure your garbage in bear-resistant trash cans or store it in a secure building.
- Keep your grill clean.
- Remove bird feeders if a bear is in the area.
- Don’t put meat scraps in your compost pile.
- Don’t leave pet food outdoors.
- Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees.
- Make sure your neighbors are following the same recommendations.
"If you see a bear, enjoy watching from a distance. If you come into close contact, back away slowly and remember that bears have a natural distrust of humans and will run when given a safe escape route. If it is up a tree, leave it alone. Keep people and pets away from the tree to allow the bear to leave your property," the Virginia Department of Wildlife advised.
If You Encounter a Bear at Home:
There are no definite rules about what to do if you meet a bear. In almost all cases, the bear will detect you first and leave the area. Unprovoked bear attacks are very rare, and have never been documented in Virginia. If you do meet a bear here are some suggestions:
- Stay calm. If you see a bear and it has not seen you, calmly leave the area. As you move away, make noise to let the bear discover your presence.
- Stop. Back away slowly while facing the bear.
- Give the bear plenty of room to escape. Bears rarely attack people unless they feel cornered or provoked.
- Do not run or make any sudden movements. Running could prompt the bear to give chase, and you cannot outrun a bear. If on a trail, step off the trail and slowly leave the area.
- If there is a bear in your yard and it approaches you, make yourself look big and make loud noises. Remain at a safe distance and throw rocks to make the bear feel unwelcome.
- If there is a bear in your house prop open all doors to the outside and get out of the way of the exit. Never close a bear into a room. Make noises and yell at bear to leave the house. Don’t approach the bear but make sure it knows it is violating your territory.
- If you surprise a bear speak softly. This may reassure the bear that you mean it no harm.
- Fight back. If a black bear attacks you, fight back. Black bears have been driven away when people have fought back with rocks, sticks, binoculars and even their bare hands.
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