MONTEBELLO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A huge black bear recently trapped a Rockland County family in their own house.

As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, the creature found a feast in the family’s trash and made itself at home.

“This was the biggest one I’ve seen,” said John Natale of Montebello.

An estimated 300-pound bear greeted Natale just off his front porch on Haverstraw Road this past Friday night.

“I open up the curtain and I see this black bear just staring at me,” he said.

The female was dining in the trash cans outside the house, and actually kept everyone from leaving the house for about half an hour.

“It’s not moving, so I said: ‘You know what? We have a friend here that needs to go home. She’s not going home until this bear’s out of here,” Natale said. “So I called Ramapo police.”

They all stayed indoors until the bear had its fill, and police lights helped chase the animal back into the woods.

And experts said staying inside was definitely the right move. Bears may look cute and cuddly, but they will attack — especially to protect their young or protect a food source.

“You definitely don’t want to mess with them,” said wildlife expert David Dilworth.

Dilworth said hibernation season is over, and mama bears are feasting right now.

“They’re waking up. They’re hungry. Their need for nutrients and calories is high because she’s lactating for the cubs, so she’s eating a lot more than normal,” he said.

With more black bears coming into contact with humans, experts recommend that people secure trash cans and store them in a shed or a garage if possible, feed their pets indoors, and avoid using bird feeders because bears love seeds.

Natale said the same animal came back for another snack Monday night.
“She realizes there’s something here to eat or maybe it’s, you know, a restaurant or something,” he said.

And since he lives near Harriman State Park, he is now taking precautions.

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