Black bears invading Pasco County neighborhoods in Wesley Chapel and Land O' Lakes

Pastor says his grandkids are a little afraid

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. -- Is ot a cub, a juvenile or an entire bear family? There is at least one black bear, and possible more, currently close to Pasco County neighborhoods. Families spotted bears recently in Wesley Chapel and Land O’ Lakes.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials believes the animals wandered south from Chassahowitzka National Refuge in Citrus County. FWC officers say black bears are usually not aggressive unless you feed them. Do not feed them!

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office confirmed the bear sightings, saying every time deputies get close to one, the bear runs away very quickly.

Like raccoons, deer or even bats, bears show up more and more when the forest they normally live in brush up against suburban homes.

Pastor Sam Portalatin finally saw the bear a few days ago in his Cypress Estates neighborhood in Land O’ Lakes. He couldn’t believe what he saw. Previously, the pastor only heard a bear tumble trash cans and rumble through backyards.

“I’ve been talking to my grandkids about the bear, and they’re a little afraid at night,” says Pastor Portalatin.

The pastor says the animal he saw still seemed very skittish of humans - a good sign so far. Still, the whole bear escapade is weird to him.

“You’d think we were living in a cabin in the woods somewhere,” said Pastor Portalatin.

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