April 14, 2014 at 8:21 AM ET
A Florida woman recovering from a harrowing attack by a black bear in her own garage over the weekend is thankful to be alive.
Terri Frana, 44, needed 30 staples in her scalp and 10 stitches in her forehead after she was attacked by a 200-pound bear on Saturday night in her home in Lake Mary, Fla., a suburb of Orlando.
“I can't close my eyes and not think about it, see it, feel it, but that will go away in time and I'm here,’’ Frana told NBC News. “I'm here for my kids."
Frana said she barely had time to react when she saw five bears in her driveway and garage before one of them came at her. She had noticed bears in the area while sitting on her back porch and went to check on her children, who were out riding their bikes, when she had the encounter with the aggressive animal.
“I saw this large bear charging at me,’’ she said tearfully. “She opened her jaw and clamped down onto my head, and I could just hear her teeth marks going through my scalp.”
Frana could only think about her family during the bloody attack.
"I said, ‘Please, my kids need me,'" she recalled.
She was able to drag herself back into the house before collapsing and was found by her eldest son, Drew, 15, who called 911.
A game warden with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shot a bear on Sunday night that was aggressive toward officers at the scene of the attack on Frana, and three others were captured and put down.
Frana’s neighborhood is next to a state nature preserve, so interaction between bears and humans is not uncommon. She and her family, who have lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, left the garage door open on Saturday night.
“Unfortunately, we just got too comfortable with them being around,’’ she said.
Reports of bears coming in contact with people and property in central Florida have more than doubled from just under a thousand in 2009 to more than 2,200 last year, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Wildlife officials said it is uncommon for bears to attack humans, but on Saturday the Fish and Wildlife Commission sent out an alert that more bears would be on the move than usual because this is the time of year when they leave their winter dens, the paper reported.