Huge black bear spotted in Roanoke neighborhood

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A Roanoke resident got the shock of a lifetime after she spotted a massive black bear outside her home along Brattonlawn Drive Northeast late Wednesday night.

(Photo: Courtesy Deanna Arbaugh)

Deanna Arbaugh snapped this photo of a black bear digging through her garbage. She believes the bear weighed approximately 450 pounds.

When Arbaugh pulled up to her driveway, she immediately called her husband. She was coming home with her two-month-old son, who was inside the car.

“I called my husband and I’m like ‘hey, can you come outside?’ and he comes out and starts yelling at this bear to get out of our trash,” said Arbaugh.

The bear ultimately left.

Arbaugh has lived in the area for almost two years. While she often sees animals around her home, like deer and foxes, she’s never seen a bear that size.

“It was a shock,” Arbaugh said.

The picture was posted on a local Facebook group. Hundreds of residents weighed in with their own thoughts.

Wildlife biologist Zachary Moorman was tagged in the social media post. He says it’s not unusual to see animals in their natural habitat. The COVID-19 pandemic also plays a big factor, with more people opting to stay home.

“Jobs have transitioned where a lot of people are working from home now. A lot of people still not back to work full-time, and again, that increases your time you spend at your home and it increases the opportunity for you to just walk past your window and see an animal running across your yard,” said Moorman.

Day-to-day operations at Star City Pest Control and Wildlife Services often involves smaller species, according to Moorman. When it comes to bear sightings, he says it comes down to two things that they’re looking for – population and resources.

To prevent larger animals from visiting, Moorman says it’s best to start with your home.

“Increase the buffer area around your home,” Moorman said. “So decrease the appeal that it has for animals and other things to come and utilize your home.”

After encountering the massive bear, Arbaugh says she’ll handle her trash a bit differently.

“Lock my trash can and make sure it’s down every week, so the bear doesn’t come back,” said Arbaugh.

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