Virginia is no stranger to black bears, but most of the time, when residents see these creatures, it’s on a hiking trail or in a wooded area – not in the middle of a suburban neighborhood.
According to NPS, there are somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 black bears in Virginia. Shenandoah National Park is a popular place to spot these animals, and the state even recognizes the national park as bear country. Those that backpack, hike, or camp in the area always need to be on high alert for black bears because campsites are one of their favorite places to graze for food. Now that these creatures have started to come out of hibernation, though, they are more ravenous and therefore willing to travel farther for food sources. That means garbage cans, open garages bird feeders and other common items are viable options.
That’s likely how this Virginia native spotted a rather rotund black bear romping around their neighborhood in Roanoke, roughly three hours southwest of Richmond and three hours north of Charlotte, North Carolina. In the clip, the bear raced across the road and onto someone’s backyard where it paused for a moment, unsure if it could hurdle the historic Civil War-type wooden fence in its path.
Check out the video here.
Virginia Black Bear Appears to Be Healthy and Full-Grown While Traveling Through Neighborhood
Thankfully, the filmer was safely in their vehicle when they followed to see where the black bear would travel. The massive animal peered back and stared at the car, seemingly curious but uninterested in pursuing it. Black bears tend not to interact with humans unless necessary. That said, if you find one wandering around your neighborhood, it’s best to head back in the other direction and dial animal control.
From the appearance of the Virginia black bear in the video, he seems to be fairly healthy. Not only is the animal large in stature, but he also looks pretty well-fed. And given the fact that the bear likely just came out of hibernation, that’s pretty impressive. During hibernation, male bears tend to lose between 15 and 30 percent of their body fat. For females, they lose up to 40 percent. So, either that means the bear was a third larger than his already huge size, or, it has been roaming around Roanoke for quite a while.
In response to the YouTube clip, one viewer commented, “He hasn’t missed many meals,” adding a laughing emoji.
Whatever the bear’s reason for wandering through the city, it doesn’t seem to be looking for any confrontation. That doesn’t mean that the animal isn’t dangerous if startled, but more likely than not, he was just browsing for a few spare apple cores and granola bar crumbs.