Bear finally freed after 28 days with head stuck in plastic container

Authorities believe the container was part of an automatic pet feeder.


Bears are curious and often searching for food.

That combination led to a bear in South Florida wandering around with a clear plastic container over its head.

The container is likely a pet food feeder that was left outside.

“Looks like the bear may have gone in from the top, trying to get the dog food and got it stuck,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's bear biologist, Mike Orlando.

The FWC tried to trap the bear but didn't succeed for nearly a month. Finally, they were able to tranquilize it and get the plastic container which was open on both ends, so the bear could eat, drink and breathe.

"Our biologist down there had to actually use bolt cutters to cut that plastic and pull it off its head," Orlando said.

The container had dug into the bear's skin, but some medical treatment allowed the FWC to send the bear back safely out into the woods.

And there’s a lesson we can learn from this.

“We've been talking about securing your garbage, keeping pet food and birdseed away from bears, not only for your safety to keep them from coming around your house, but for the bear's safety as well,” Orlando said.

The FWC said people should make every effort to keep bears away from trash, but to be extra safe, take hard-sided snack containers with an open top and crush them.

“Make it so an animal won't be successful in putting its head down in there,” Orlando said.

It's happened before: Orlando trapped a bear cub a few years ago and managed to get a clear snack container off of its head.

The commission says it’s happy to carry out rescues but would like it if they were not necessary, especially in the case of this latest adult bear.

"Having that thing around its head had to be a miserable experience," Orlando said.

The conservation commission asks us to all do our part to better protect bears from themselves.