Juan Franco took this picture of a bear that showed up in his Spring Hill back yard.
Spring Hill, FL -- Residents in one Spring Hill neighborhood got quite the surprise this week when a black bear decided to wander through.
Juan Franco lives in the 6200 block of Alderwood Street and says he spotted the bear about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in his backyard.
"I saw it and it surprised me and then I went back (in) and got my camera," Franco recounted.
After taking a few pictures, Franco says he got some neighbors who couldn't believe their eyes either.
"We're all out there probably too stupid, too close for safety but it's something I'm not going to see again, so I had to get a good look," said Greg Sherlock who lives across the street from Franco.
Wildlife officials say there are roughly 3,000 black bears in the state, which is up from a low of about 300 in the 1970's.
But wildlife experts warn there have been several documented incidents of bears in the state getting aggressive and destroying property.
"And each one of those situations has involved bears that have become habituated to people and conditioned to look for food in and around human habitation," said FWC spokesperson Gary Morse.
So officials recommend residents where bears have been spotted to follow these tips to avoid problems.
- Feed your pets indoors.
- Secure your garbage in a shed or wildlife resistant container.
- Take your trash out on the morning of pick-up not the night before.
- Never intentionally leave food out for bears.
It's still unclear where the bear came from, but some residents believe it came from a nearby preserve.
Officials say if you do see a bear going through your trash call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.