Large Black Bear Feasts on Hermantown Garbage Cans

The Bear With a Big Belly Has Been Spotted By Dozens

HERMANTOWN, Minn –

As it gets colder outside chances are getting higher that you might encounter a certain kind of creature in your neighborhood.

There’s one that’s become a sort of ‘neighborhood celebrity’ spotted by dozens of people in Hermantown looking for a snack.

Talk to most people on Morris Thomas road in Hermantown and you’ll hear something like what the Takes family has experienced.

“I’ve only seen him around half a dozen times, but you can tell he’s around by the mess he makes,” said CJ Takes.

It’s the Takes family cat that actually caught the suspect in the act.

“In the morning he was running back and forth, which usually means he wants food. He got up and checked and said “Shannon there’s a huge bear!’” said Shannon Takes. “We turned the lights on, he just stared, and saw the cat. The cat walked to the window, they did a stare off and the bear just walked away.”

It’s the activities the big black bear that’s made him grow a neighborhood reputation. Viewer Bev Walstrom sent us a picture of the suspect, taking a nap on the side of the road. When posted online, it took of and triggered everyone else to share their own stories and snapshots. They paint a picture of a bear with a big belly, and quite the taste for garbage.

Lizzie Larson, a zoologist at the Lake Superior Zoo says this behavior; even naps on the side of the road can be explained.

“That road is actually hot and absorbing heat from the sun,” said Larson. “That’s a nice little heat pad for the bear. If there are not people bothering it, there’s no reason not to take a nap.”

Larson says it’s actually a busy time for all bears. They don’t truly hibernate but do stay inside most the winter.

“These bears are bulking up, getting ready to be denned up and not coming out, there isn’t food available they don’t feel the need,” said Larson.

With a buffet in Hermantown, the bear has learned where the easy food is, and how to get it.

“People should make sure the garbage is closed up,” said Larson. “Once they learn that it’s like a toddler, learning a bad trick, they’ll do it again.”

The Lake Superior Zoo plans to open a Bear Country exhibit next summer.

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