DENVER (Reuters) - A resident of a Colorado mountain town woke from a nap on his deck to find a black bear nibbling his ankle, but later rejected a request by wildlife officials to put a trap on his property, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Peter Rizzuto, 77, told The Aspen Times he thought at first the creature was a large dog. He said last week's encounter was very brief, and the skin on his ankle was not broken.
Rizzuto contacted the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department the following day, but then declined to place a bear trap in his backyard in the ski resort of Snowmass, near Aspen.
"I'm worried it might trap the wrong bear," Rizzuto said.
A parks and wildlife spokesman, Mike Porras, told the newspaper that the bear had not returned since last Wednesday's incident, but it was likely that it would.
"If it is walking up to humans and doing this, it would not be a big surprise if it did it again," Porras said.
Colorado is home to about 12,000 black bears. Attacks on people are rare, but typically happen when hungry bears lose their fear of humans, wildlife authorities say.
Porras said Rizzuto's small yard is open, and that children come and go in the area. He said the department might lay a trap on a nearby public area if one is available.
"No one wants to put a bear down," Porras said. "But when a bear is not afraid of humans or is approaching humans, that is a cause for concern."
(Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Lisa Lambert)