Do Porch Lights Attract Bears at Night?

  • By: TheWalledNursery
  • Time to read: 5 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

The Walled Nursery Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post at no extra cost to you. Thank You for your support

Bears aren’t frightened by light unless it comes on suddenly. Some are even curious when they see lights and will come to check on them. Most bears aren’t bothered by porch lights but aren’t attracted to them either. Although, they may feel confused by them. 

While your porch light is good for you being able to detect a bear, it could draw in a curious one.

Porch lights attract bears dark
Porch lights attract bears

However, most bears are likely neutral towards porch lights. It depends on the situation, so you’ll need to learn more. 

Do Bears Like Porch Lights? 

Porch lights won’t deter bears from coming on your property if they feel curious or smell something good.

Most bears won’t follow lights and prefer to stay in the dark, so they shouldn’t come onto your porch to check out the light. 

You might want to leave the lights on if you suspect there are bears outside so that you can see them easily.

Do bears like porch lights explained
Do bears like porch lights

While they won’t deter every bear, you’ll at least be able to see where they are so you know to stay in your house. 

Bears don’t have fears of light, and most won’t view them as a threat. If you turn the light on, they may just inspect it.

Although, that doesn’t mean the light is what drew the bear there- it’s likely they smell food or other resources on your property. 

Overall – The lights aren’t what attracts bears to your porch. Bears don’t like or dislike lights, so there must be something else that attracted them to your home in the first place. 

Are Bears Afraid of Lights? 

Most bears aren’t afraid of lights.

If you flash them with a bright light in their eyes, they’ll be startled for a few moments.

However, most won’t run away unless they’ve had a bad experience with lights. 

Are bears afraid of lights explained
Are bears afraid of lights?

Turning on your porch light when you see a bear likely won’t scare it off.

The bear will probably continue doing whatever it wants unless you startle it.

However, you’ll want to stay inside and far away from the bear! 

How Do Bears React To Automatic Lights? 

Most bears will only stop for a few seconds when an automatic light comes on.

They won’t run away but may leave if they feel seen. Automatic lights are still a necessity if you know a bear lives nearby. 

If you have problems with bears coming close to your home, getting some automatic lights might be a good idea.

Bears reaction to automatic lights
Bears reaction to automatic lights

These lights turn on when detecting movement nearby.

They’ll let you know if there’s a wild animal outside during the night, so you know to stay inside where it’s safe. 

Most bears don’t care too much about automatic lights.

They may be surprised, but most stop caring about them when they realize the lights can’t hurt them.

Bears are very intelligent animals, so ignoring automatic porch lights doesn’t take long. 

Key Takeaway – The motion sensor light is best for spotting bears. You wouldn’t want to walk outside in the dark and realize that there’s a bear only a few feet away! Although the light won’t deter the bear directly, they’ll still keep you safe. 

What Do I Do If There’s a Bear on My Porch? 

If you see a bear on your property, you’ll need to stay calm and remain far away from it.

Never approach a bear! 

Bear approaching home at night
Bear approaching home

Bear attacks are extremely rare since bears tend to be more afraid of us than we are of them.

If the bear is close to you:

  • You should make yourself look as big as possible and make a lot of noise. The noise will scare the bear a lot more than any light will.
  • Lastly, don’t make direct eye contact with the bear as they can view this as aggression. 

When the bear is outside your home, and you’re inside, you should move to a safer place indoors.

Going upstairs and as far from your porch as possible is best if the bear attempts to come inside.

The bear should leave if it doesn’t find a food source around your porch. 

You may need to call 911 if it doesn’t leave or shows signs of aggression. 

What Attracts Bears to My Porch? 

Most of the time, it’s not light that attracts the bear to your porch- it’s food.

Bears love anything that smells strongly and will come to check it out.

Bears coming to porch at night what to do
Bears coming to the porch at night

It can even be garbage with rotting food inside- the bear will still come and see if it can find anything to eat. 

All of these items can draw a bear onto your property: 

  • Hummingbird and see bird feeders 
  • Garage 
  • Dropped food 
  • Pet or livestock food 
  • Water 
  • Windchimes 

Bears are naturally curious animals.

They may come to your yard looking for food. Some people even report seeing bears play in their pools, furniture, or porch decorations. 

When you have a bear in the area, it’s best to bring everything inside. There shouldn’t be anything that could attract the bear to your porch. 

Stop Bears From Coming On Your Porch 

You can also prevent bears from coming onto your property.

You’ll need to make all of your garbage cans inaccessible. Many people use bungee cords to tie the lids to the can or even special bear-resistant cans. 

Bears on porch
How to protect from bears

If you have a shed, you can even place the trash can inside until it’s time for someone to pick it up.

Lastly, ammonia or animal repellent spray works great at stopping bears from coming onto your property.

You can spray these mixtures directly onto garbage cans. 

Next – Make sure that your compost pile remains closed if you have one. Bears love food scraps and might come onto your property if they smell them. 

Finally, if you have any bird feeders, you’ll want to ensure that you have them at least 10 feet off the ground.

They’re less likely to attract bears and other animals- but the birds can still reach them safely. 


While your porch light is good for you being able to detect a bear, it could draw in a curious one.

Most bears won’t follow lights and prefer to stay in the dark, so they shouldn’t come onto your porch to check out the light.

Read Next