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Santa Rosa Beach family finds pair of bears on front porch

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 11:35 PM CST
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SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

Alli Benton and her family woke up Tuesday morning to an unexpected sight, two large black bears digging through trash on the front porch.

“My heart was beating a little bit, but I was never too terrified,” said Benton. “It was actually a really cool experience to see them so close.”

Benton says it isn’t the first time they’ve encountered bears in the neighborhood.

“There have been mornings you wake up and there’s trash in the front yard, and we’ve seen them on our Ring doorbell camera, but this is the first super close encounter,” said Benton.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, around 4,000 bears live in Florida.

They ask if a bear gets into something on your property that you secure it and any open food sources so they don’t come back.

Benton says that’s something they will look into over the coming days.

“We have noticed neighbors with bear safe trash cans, so it does seem to be happening a little more often than previous years, so it may be something we need to take a look at,” said Benton.

The FWC also says to treat the bears with respect and care if you come across one.

Benton says despite seeing the bears that close she doesn’t want to be any closer if she sees another one.

“Hopefully it’s still behind a closed door and not a closer encounter,” said Benton. “Let’s just hope it’s where things are safe.”

If people want more information about how they can protect their property or if they’re concerned about a bear that they see, FWC officials say they can call the regional office at 850-265-3676.

They can also reach out to the Wildlife Alert line at 888-404-3922 if they see someone feeding bears.

For more information on what to do if you see a black bear in the wild or at home, click here.

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