A hungry bear went for a ride on top of a Pennsylvania garbage truck last week. It appears as though the trashcans lining the streets were not enough for this big bear. Kidder Township, where the incident occurred, is the gateway to the Poconos, and locals are used to seeing all sorts of wildlife. The thickly forested area is beautiful in the fall with leaves changing colors; however, the bears are preparing to hibernate.
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This time of year, bears and other smaller mammals are trying to pack as many pounds on before winter arrives. Black bears can eat up to 20,000 Calories a day, which means they will eat any last bit of food they can find. Often, near the wildland-urban interface (WUI), many large mammals will wander through neighborhoods. Since everyone is competing for food this time of year, it is a good idea to keep your trashcans where bears cannot reach them. It is good practice when living in a WUI area to have a bearproof trashcan or not put your trash out until collection day. Bears can smell food from up to a mile away, so they will know exactly when you have put your trash out.
Although a garbage truck is not a bear’s normal transport mode, humans do move bears around. When people walk in the woods, most animals try to stay away because humans are noisy and scary. There have been increased bear sightings across the country this year as COVID-19 has led people to take more walks in the woods. If given their personal space, black bears are fairly harmless. As for the one riding the garbage truck? When the truck reached the police station, the driver backed up to a tree and let the bear jump off.