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Bear spotted prowling around Polk County neighborhoods

While the bear might look cute, the Polk County Sheriff's Office warns looks can be deceiving.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A prowling bear has been spotted in Polk County neighborhoods. A Polk County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant spotted the bear on Monday morning and recorded a video. 

The sheriff's office says the bear was spotted in neighborhoods along U.S. Highway 27 between I-4 and Highway 192. That area is also known as Four Corners.

According to a Facebook post, neighborhoods along the west side of Highway 27 back up against the Green Swamp. Wild animals, including bears, raccoons and coyotes see neighborhoods like this as a food opportunity. Especially on trash day. 

While spotting a bear in your neighborhood might spark some excitement, it's also very dangerous. The sheriff's office is warning community members to not mess with these wild animals and to keep your distance from them. 

Regarding trash day, the sheriff's office also says you should try not to put your trash cans out until the morning of collection. That will limit the amount of time animals have to get to your thrown away food.

Something else you should think about is keeping your kids and your pets safe. It's always smart to monitor them when they are outside. 

If you spot a wild animal, like a bear, contact the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission. You can call them at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922). If the situation however becomes an emergency, call 911. 

However, if you're looking to see a bear from a safe distance...at a zoo, FWC has put out a list of zoos that regularly have black bears out. You can check that out by clicking here.  

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