Bear versus Raccoon

We moved into a house in April.

My house

My house

I haven't lived in a standalone house since 1998 and have forgotten some of the conveniences/inconveniences of having a house. Sure we have space for Meg-o, but there is yard work to consider and we have to remember to take the trash to the street on the right days of the week. 

Then we started finding a piece of trash or two in the yard on a regular basis. 

At first we thought it'd blown into our yard or was from a neighbor's turned over trash can.

Then we recognized the trash as something from our garbage.

Since the trash cans were never turned over we were certain it wasn't a dog. 

Then we quit thinking about it.


Then I read this article from a neighboring town. A few highlights. 

  1. Bears are everywhere

  2. Most city residents are OK with bears around
  3. Individual bears differ widely in their movements
  4. Bears aren't always territorial
  5. Urban bears are healthy, produce more cubs 
The bears in town seem to be a whole lot healthier than the bears in the forest. It’s because they’re getting a lot better food in the way of bird feeders, trash, and being fed by people.
— Mike Carraway

7,000 bears live in the mountains of NC and TN.


The only reasonable assumption is A BEAR IS GOING THROUGH OUR TRASH.


The Evidence

Bears are tall. They could reach into the trash can and rip through a bag with precision, hiding in the back yard while they eat our garbage. I decided it made sense to:

  1. Develop a bear strategy.
  2. Freak out about bears.
  3. Discuss the situation at length with friends and family members.
  4. Ignore all comments that the "bear" is probably a raccoon. Bears are tall. Raccoons are short. I'm no dummy.
  5. Make half-hearted attempts to dissuade the "bear" from our trash. 

Then we kinda forgot about it. I'd get giddy every time I'd think about our "bear" but it didn't really impact my daily life. 

Then driving home in the rain one night this week I saw three raccoons crossing the street.

Photo courtesy of  MichaelMurray.CA  

Photo courtesy of MichaelMurray.CA 

Mystery Solved

So now we know. We don't have a bear problem; we're the hosts of a raccoon party. 

I like that. 

What do you think?

I'm making wild assumptions based on a small amount of evidence so I'm interested in hearing what you think. Vote here.