While generally rare, some recent sightings of black bears New Castle County have come as a surprise.
Black bears are generally more afraid of humans than the other way around. That being said, they’re also creatures of habit.
If a black bear detects (they have a sense of smell seven times stronger than bloodhounds) something yummy in your yard — like birdseed, a dirty grill, uncovered garbage or a compost pile — they’ll come check it out. If you don’t chase them away, they’ll become more and more comfortable coming back. That makes them harder to chase away and more likely that they’ll attack when startled or backed into a corner.
While there’s probably no coming invasion, keeping your yard clean can deter any possible individuals (or two) from paying your property a visit.
Also known as a Cougar, the Mountain Lion is the first of the two big cats found in the First State. It’s a large cat that’s native to the Americas. It’s got a pretty wide area of habitation, being seen from Canada in the north to Patagonia (the southernmost section of South America) in the south.
However, this range doesn’t include Delaware, so it’s extremely unlikely you’d come across one. Which is probably a good thing, as unlike some of the animals on the main list, cougars are dangerous to humans. Though they’re not usually aggressive, they are strong and have been involved in human attacks before. While attacks are generally rare, hungry or hurt cougars might be provoked.
The second big cat on this list, the bobcat. This is the smaller of the two, and unlike the Mountain Lion, it’s not too much of a danger. If you come across one, it’s most likely just looking to hunt down the mice or other rodents on your property, but it’s probably not interested in you. Making loud noises can usually make it move away to find some place nice and quiet.
Not that you’re likely to encounter any of them a lot. While it is found in Delaware from time to time, it doesn’t have a large population in the First State, as those that appear there are usually visitors from nearby areas.
Manatees in Delaware? I know what you’re thinking. Wrong place! Well… Most of the time, you’d be right. However, there was a recent sighting where one appeared not far from where Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay meet.
These docile herbivores are usually found in coastal waters and going through estuaries, in rivers as well. That being said, they usually prefer the warmer waters to the south.
If you do encounter one (which is admittedly still rare, but who knows?), don’t worry – they may be large, but they’re harmless to human and aren’t known to be aggressive. In fact, that’s what’s made them easy prey when people used to hunt them (they’re now protected by law).