I’m not kidding about the bears. This is my neighborhood. As you can see, we do not live in the woods, but we do have wandering bears.
I don’t mind the bears, but I would like to see them coming and not surprise one in the dark. This was a mama with two large cubs. She was cool, the homeowners kept their distance, everybody was fine, it’s a cute picture and a funny story.
Last week another household left their garage door up a foot or so, and two curious cubs crawled inside to check out the garage fridge. (They all know about garage fridges.) Mama paced outside, getting anxious. Homeowner saw her and was able to hit the button to raise the garage door and shoo the little trespassers out.
But this is why I talk to Gidget when we are outside after dark. I don’t care if the neighbors think I’m insane, I’m not talking for the benefit of the humans who may hear me. The bears don’t want to meet us, and when bad encounters between bears and humans happen, it’s almost always when a human inadvertently gets between a mama and her cubs. Those end badly for all – humans got mauled, bears got trapped. Moms and cubs get relocated, but a solo “habituated bear” who doesn’t run from people gets put down. There’s no safe place to put them where they can’t just find their way into another neighborhood in another part of the state.
So I talk to Gidget as we leave the front door after dark. She’s a little idiot, she loves to walk in the dark because it’s less people-y and she’s shy. Meanwhile, I’m the one constantly scanning the shadows for wildlife and encouraging her to hurry up and pee already!