Photo: Black bear
So you thought that all the hares, geese, turkeys and coyotes was more than enough wildlife for Belmont to absorb?
Well, now you can add the possibility of bears to the mix after Waltham city officials announced Tuesday via Twitter the sighting of a pair of black bears in North Waltham, which includes the 59-acre Beaver Brook North Reservation.
ALERT! 2 black bears have been reported in North #Waltham recently.
If you see them, please report them immediately: http://bit.ly/2gsL2l2
While there has been no indication that the two bears have toured the “Town of Homes,” the pair are likely just a hop, skip and jump from Belmont. The North Reservation is adjacent to Belmont’s Rock Meadow Conservation Area and the Kendell Garden neighborhood and is across upper Concord Avenue at the Belmont Country Club. The reservation is also connected to Lone Tree Hill and Habitat via the Western Greenway Trail system.
What’s surprising is that American black bears – the species most likely seen in Waltham – are not more frequent visitors to these parts. Bears are located throughout western and central Massachusetts including northern sections of Middlesex County. The state’s Division of Fisheries & Wildlife estimates up to 4,500 bears wandering the Commonwealth, mostly in dense forests. Around urban areas, bears are primarily nocturnal, mainly foraging by night.
Most likely the pair is looking for food. American black bears are omnivorous living off plants, fruits such as apples and pears, nuts, insects, honey, fish, small mammals, and carrion. They are also attracted to pet food, compost piles, garbage, and birdfeeders. They are also known to come into neighborhoods and steal the pumpkins decorating front doors in the autumn.
So what do you do when you come across a bear? Speaking from experience, a bear is likely to be more scared of you than you of him. According to the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife:
“Remain calm, talk to the bear in a calm voice (say ‘Hey bear, hey bear”) and slowly back away and leave the area.
If a bear approaches or follows you, make yourself look bigger by putting your arms above your head. Continue to repeat “Hey bear” in a calm voice and back away and leave the area while monitoring the bear.
If it continues to follow you, stand your ground, make yourself look bigger, shout at the bear, threaten the bear with whatever is at hand (bang a stick on the ground, clap your hands), and prepare to use bear pepper spray if it is available.
If the bear stops following you or turns around, back away and leave the area.
If the bear charges you, stand your ground, talk to the bear in a calm voice and use bear pepper spray when available. If the bear makes contact with you, fight back using anything you have (e.g., stick, binoculars, swinging a backpack, kicking, etc.)!”