You’ve heard of the TV show Man vs. Wild right?   Well, I have an idea for a new reality show.  It’s called Jersey Girl vs Nature.  It’s when a city-girl radio personality is forced to face the threat of a bear milling around her neighborhood and the hilarity that ensues.

The police put out a warning that a “very large black bear” was seen walking through our neighborhood.  I was out on Friday night at our local high school football game when my neighbor called me to tell me that a bear was seen in my yard.  He warned me to keep my kids and dog inside and to follow the local updates. 

Holy S#!*!!!  It was all I could do to get up the courage to run back inside my house with the kids.  I woke in the morning thinking that maybe I was overreacting just a bit.  I mean it is probably just moving though right?  Wrong. It was seen walking down my street again early that morning and on the other side of my fence, my garbage was all over the yard.  Another neighbor took this photo earlier in the year from her yard.  There is no way of knowing if it is the same bear or not, but we have had more than our share lately!

Photo credit: Jennifer Casola
Photo credit: Jennifer Casola

My next-door neighbor reminded me to “look up in the trees” before letting the dog out.  So you can imagine I’m on edge.  Just to add some humor to this for you, allow me to share this moment as well.  After waiting until Sunday to exit my home, I finally decided to open my shed to get clippers to trim my bushes in the front yard.  Mind you, I am still on pins and needles about the bear sightings.  I open my shed to find some sort of groundhog/rodent staring back at me before it scurries away.  There is no being rational at this point, I'm convinced that the bear is friends with the groundhog and they are all in there.  Both the rodent and I ran in separate directions doing our own versions of screaming.  Nature 2, Shannon 0.  

ICYMI Lou and I talked about it this morning on the show.  Listen to the story here.

All kidding aside, bear sightings have more than doubled this year.  Why? A woman was attacked by a bear when she went out to check her mail this past May.  Remember that?  That attack was in Sussex County.  She went to get her mail around 4:30 when she saw three bears and one charged her.  Thankfully, a neighbor used their car horn to scare the bears away.  The woman had injuries on her arm and backside.    

We saw this big boy on someone’s ring doorbell just a few weeks ago.

Also, two small dogs were mauled to death in their own backyards this past January.   

There have been almost 400 bear encounters this year alone (these are actual encounters, not just sightings).  What the heck is going on? I feel it has to do with COVID keeping us in our homes so long and animals sensed it was “OK” to come out.  Now we are back out and we are all meeting up more than either of us wants to. Another reason is that bear hunts have been called off in New Jersey for the time being.  Plus, experts say that mama bears tend to have two healthy cubs every two years and most of the time the cubs survive so we are currently dealing with an influx. Construction never helps matters and New Jersey is constantly building up. 

However, there has only been one death documented in our state’s history so maybe I should just take a deep breath.

Can you believe there are some wacked-out people who try to make having a wild bear a pet?  I'm personally against anyone owning exotic animals but this is a list of the ones that are legal to own in the state of New Jersey.

10 Exotic Animals That Are Legal To Own In New Jersey

Who woulda thought?

These pets are banned in each state.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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