Reports of black bear sightings around Lake County are increasing. Many of my neighbors in South County have seen bear tracks on their property. Bear droppings, as you can imagine, are pretty big! Further evidence of the brown to black mammal appears on private hunting cameras at Loch Lomond, Jago Bay, the Oaks and more. These hungry, omnivorous creatures use chickens, ducks and other fresh “snacks”. They leave behind broken branches on fruit trees, eat grapes copiously in the vines, and just like a cartoon bear, but not at all funny, have made use of private bee hives and food bins. for pets that have been carelessly left out. . This is the time of year when bears begin to gain weight for binge eating, or “seasonal lethargy,” when they eat almost non-stop during their annual sleep period. Black bears don’t go into full hibernation here, as they do in cooler habitats such as the Sierra Nevada mountains. When they “dens” they may sleep under a large pile of brush, under trees or rocks, or simply find a secluded spot on bare ground. During binge eating, bears are adapted to live off their considerable fat stores; However, they tend to lose a significant amount of weight then. They are designed by nature to retain most of their muscle during this time.
Wild black bears, the only bears that reside in California, can live up to 30 years. Females weigh around 275 pounds, while males can reach 500 pounds! Their distinctive traces show 5 toes and claws. These tough claws help them climb and scoop up their food. Bear claws allow for a dexterity not found in most mammals, as their claws act like fingers when munching on a meal. The bear’s range can be 8 to 60 square miles for a male and 1 to 15 miles for the female. The habitat of the black bear includes woodlands, as well as grasslands and scrub lands, which provide a plethora of pine nuts, acorns, beetles and other insects, many small mammals, fish and even carrion. Surprisingly, black bears are not only good runners, but also skillful swimmers.
While black bears are generally not aggressive, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife urges homeowners to protect their homes from bears by keeping grates clean, and store food and feed scraps in safe containers. bear proof, not to leave garbage cans. get out, bring pets at night, secure inviting hibernation sites and more. (Please see their “Keep Me Wild” brochure website, below.)
For more information on safety, see the information brochures from the Ministry of Fisheries and Wildlife:
“Homeowners ‘and Renters’ Guide to Living in Bear Country”:
“Keep me wild“: