Many Southwest Floridians and visitors have been surprised to learn they share the region with black bears. To educate Zoo guests about living with the state’s wild bears, Naples Zoo created Black Bear Hammock featuring two distinct habitats: a natural habitat and a backyard habitat. Both areas feature clear viewing through 2" zoo-grade glass. The two bears at Naples Zoo were rescued several years ago and the Zoo created the largest Black bear exhibit at any Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoo east of the Mississippi for them. It features two regions: a backyard side featuring the picnic table, play structure, lanai, and kiddie pool as well as a wild Florida habitat side that tells the story of Cypress logging and features cypress stumps and logs, a shack, and a railroad trestle over a swimming hole fed by descending pools.
The viral meme featured on the Today show at the right comes to life in this video. (Pardon the few spots of winter coat not yet shed.)
At the habitat, visitors have the opportunity to learn both basic safety tips if a bear is encountered in the wild as well as how to avoid attracting them to their yard. They will also gain a deeper appreciation of the bears’ crucial role in the local environment. Resources for living with bears.
Resources for Living
or Traveling in Black Bear Country
The following links are provided as a courtesy. They represent a sampling of current thinking about black bears. As each bear and situation are unique, these are guidelines for you to review and make decisions that are best for your situation. (Naples Zoo cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by these links or any other linked site. Providing links to a non-Naples Zoo web site does not constitute an endorsement by the Zoo or any of its employees of the sponsors of these third-party sites or the information or products presented on these sites.)
Black Bears in Florida The official Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission information on bears in the state including contact information for nuisance bears.
Get Bear Smart Society Detailed ideas for living and recreating in bear country. This is a registered Canadian charity that works hard to ensure people and bears can safely and respectfully coexist wherever their homes and home ranges overlap.
Bear Spray Information Learn more about the benefits of this useful tool with links to EPA approved products.
Bear Spray and other bear proofing items
Bear Resistant Garbage Cans
Natural Areas in Collier County with Native Black Bears
Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Big Cypress National Preserve
Collier Seminole State Park
Crew Land & Water Trust
Everglades National Park
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
Picayune Strand State Forest
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Living With Bears: A Practical Guide to Bear Country By Linda Masterson
Learn what you can do to prevent conflict with bears at home or at play in black bear country. Practical advice from bear experts, and real-life stories from people, parks and communities who've learned to coexist with black bears.
Backcountry Bear Basics: The Definitive Guide to Avoiding Unpleasant Encounters By Dave Smith
This text offers detailed, comprehensive, practical information on how to travel and camp safely in bear country. Smith separates bear facts from anecdotal fallacies, giving readers the true story of how bears behave.