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Black bears are classified as carnivores, but are in fact omnivores, indicated by a tooth structure similar to humans. Basically they will eat anything that is edible within reason. The diet of black bears includes fruit, berries and nuts, but will also eat bees, rodents, fish, deer, pigs and lamb. Cattle larger than a lamb are probably too big for black bears to deal with. They are likely to become less wary of humans when food is scarce such as in a year of crop failure. Due to their acute sense of smell, they are able to track down almost any food source, and that could be your home.
An obvious strategy when considering home protection is adequate garbage disposal. Do not leave bags outside the house for days on end, unless locked securely in an outhouse, or suspended high on a line that black bears would have no chance of reaching.
A second habit to take up to aid both home protection and protection of oneself is personal hygiene. If you retire to bed soon after a meal and it is a warm night you may wish to leave the window open. If you do make sure that you have washed off any odours from your face and hands, as black bears’ acute sense of smell can lead them to your open window.
Because black bears are not fussy about their diet it is best to refrigerate any left over food, no matter what it is! Also do not leave cooking food unattended for long periods of time. These measures for home protection are especially true during the summer months when the doors and windows of a house may be left open.
If you are confronted by a black bear, you could chase it off if it had a clear route of escape. They are in fact quite timid. Do not get too close to them though. It is a good idea to keep a pepper spray around the home as this acts as a deterrent. If they are caught in the act of eating something it is probably wiser to leave them to it. They will leave eventually.