A black bear foraging for food clawed the hood of a car parked downtown while trying to reach the fried chicken left inside.
It happened late Wednesday or early Thursday morning to a 2009 Chevrolet sedan in the Hollywood neighborhood off East Washington Street. Claw marks are etched in the hood and a paw print is visible on one of the windows of a car left in the 300 block of Goodman Street -- just west of the Great Dismal Swamp.
Suffolk police and animal control officers are visiting the neighborhood to drop off safety information for residents. Black bears are very common in the Great Dismal Swamp and end up in residential areas when they smell food, according to a news release.
In a news release, the city provided the following tips:
--Do not leave strong-smelling food in vehicles.
--Secure garbage: Store garbage indoors, in a shed, in a garage or in a bear-proof container.
--Put garbage out the morning of pick-up, not the night before.
--Pick up pet food. Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors. Remove the food bowl soon after pets finish. Pick up uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.
--Remove the bird feeder: Bears consume seed and nuts found in the wild, so bird feeders become a favored target for bears.
--Clean the outdoor grill often.
--Do not put meat scraps or any other strong-smelling food in the compost pile. Consider an enclosed compost bin.
--Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.
It is illegal to feed bears on public or private land.
Bear encounters can be reported to the Suffolk Police Department non-emergency dispatch at 757-923-2350, extension 0.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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