What do you do when bears come sniffing for your trash? Hang up some horror dolls, of course. (Readers with coulrophobia, look away now. Everyone else: sound on!)

We can only assume this Virginia resident had experienced several bin raids before launching operation clown defender – and to his credit, it does seem to work! As far as bear deterrents go, this actually isn't a bad idea.

As we've discussed before, securing garbage is one of the best ways to avoid unnecessary conflict with predators on your property. Food waste is an attractive source of nutrition for wildlife, and as humans continue to encroach on wild spaces, the onus lies on us to be mindful of how we dispose of our trash. 

Black bears are generally wary of people, but encounters like this one are frequent at this time of year. The animals typically emerge from their winter dens between March and May, and after seven months without food, they're a bit more curious than usual.

The spring menu for Virginia's black bears is largely made up of grasses, insects, roots and skunk cabbage – so our protein-heavy scraps are a real treat. The allure of a free meal can sometimes prompt bolder bruins to set up camp in urban areas, so wildlife officials also suggest bringing in bird feeders and locking up barbecues and recycling bins. 

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Top header image: Kristi/Flickr