If you’re looking for homes for sale in Asheville, you’re looking at homes in bear country. Black bears live in the woods all around Asheville and are regularly spotted within city limits. In most cases, these animals are nothing to worry about. Living with these beautiful animals in your backyard is one of the many perks of living in Asheville, North Carolina.
The Asheville Citizen Times reports there are an estimated 8,000-10,000 bears in the mountains as of January 2019, with the total number of bears in the state somewhere around 15,000.
For the most part, black bears keep to themselves. They’re generally pretty shy and don’t like to approach humans. However, there are some things you should know if you want to be a good citizen of the Blue Ridge.
Don’t Feed the Bears!
Asheville resident and Bearwise ambassador Janet Winemiller recently spoke to NPR about some of the common human/bear conflicts, and ways to prevent them. Black bears are motivated by food, and they don’t always stick to the forests when they get hungry. When black bears are in your backyard, they aren’t looking to attack you—they’re looking for something to snack on.
Bird feeders and open trash cans present a great snacking opportunity for black bears that live near neighborhoods in Asheville. The best way to keep a bear out of your yard is to maintain your home in a way that doesn’t involve leaving attractants out for bears. Make sure you clean up after barbecues, use bear-proof trash cans, and—as much of a bummer as this is going to be—don’t have a bird feeder.
All of this will go a long way in keeping bears out of neighborhoods, or at least keeping them from coming back.
Keeping Wild Animals Wild—And Safe
As much as everyone in Asheville loves nature, what we love most is keeping nature natural. Black bears aren’t domesticated animals like cats and dogs! They’re best-suited to live in the woods, far away from our manicured lawns and meticulously weeded gardens. Most importantly, they’re best living far away from our roads.
Black bears are hit by cars with startling regularity in Western North Carolina. These bears are typically coming down from the mountains looking for food, and they’re not used to having to dodge cars to get from point A to point B. Not only that, but black bears are extremely hard to see at night, so drivers have very little time to react when they finally see the bear racing out in front of them.
While many animal lovers may feel inclined to feed these beautiful bears, establishing a pattern of finding food in neighborhoods encourages bears to make the dangerous journey across our roadways. It’s best for everyone to have the bears stay in their forests.
What to Do When You Spot a Bear
Like we said, most bear sightings in Asheville have a pleasant ending. The bear marches through, maybe eats a few berries, and gets on with their day. Bears do not like engaging with people, and will do everything they can to avoid running into people.
Bear Smart says the best bet is for you to do the same. Bears don’t like being taken by surprise, so always travel in large groups when walking through forests. Make noise by talking, and be aware of your surroundings Avoid the temptation to get close and take pictures, as you’re likely to frighten the bear and they may panic and act defensively.
Bear Smart says bears aren’t likely to attack as a first instinct—they’re not looking for a fight, but they will act tough to avoid one. This includes swatting the ground while snorting, or a “bluff charge” to try to scare you away. In these cases, the best bet is to speak in a calm voice and back away slowly.
Living Alongside Black Bears in Asheville
We can’t emphasize enough that wildlife like black bears are one of the greatest parts of life in Asheville. There’s nothing like everyone in the office dropping everything to run to the window and watch a bear forage in a tree, or seeing a mother and her cubs saunter into the woods off the edge of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
However, living this close to nature requires some responsibility on our part if we want to keep these natural beauties. It comes down to respecting bears, their territory and personal space, and not creating a situation where your backyard is a feeding ground for hungry bears. If you follow these simple guidelines you’ll be on your way to living in harmony with the best neighbors you can ask for.
If you’re looking for a home in our wild corner of the world, check out homes for sale on an interactive real estate listings. Keller Williams Asheville has the best list of homes for sale in Asheville on the internet, and we guarantee our listings are always up to date. When you’re ready to make the move, get in touch with one of our realtors and we’ll get you started on moving into your dream home.
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