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May 2, 2007

Tonight I came home with my children from one of their baseball games. As I pulled into the driveway I noticed that our garbage can was knocked down and garbage was strewn around the side of the house.

Before I could even stop the van, I noticed a bear, sitting on the stone wall the divides our property from our neighbors. With a big bag of our garbage hanging out of it’s mouth.

the BEAR!!! walking next to my driveway

We sat inside the van watching him for awhile. I felt like I was in that movie Cujo.

A BEAR!!! in my yard

We finally decided to make a break for it and run into the house. Which was probably more dramatic than it needed to be. But all I could imagine was the bear suddenly running up behind us and tackling us to the ground and eating us.

the BEAR!!! eating my garbage

Once we were safely inside the house we ran to the windows and stared at the bear. I took lots of blurry photos since I had children pushing me and trying to jockey for position at the window I was look out. Because we don’t have like 3000 other windows in our house.

And then another bear … a friend of the bear, stopped by. It was too dark at that point for my camera to work. But there were TWO BEARS!! in my yard. Tearing up my garbage, knocking over my bird feeders, climbing my trees. CLIMBING MY TREES!

Miles was most upset when he saw the bear dig one of his diapers out of the trash and the EAT it! Yes, you read that correctly. For the rest of the night Miles kept saying, “Bear ate my POOP, mama.” It was very distressing for the poor tyke. he feels such ownership over those dirty diapers. He doesn’t even like anyone else to throw them away. And now, here was a bear eating one. Wonder how many therapy sessions this will cost me one day.

I feel like I need to go outside with my children now whenever they play… with some high powered hunting rifle for protection. In case the bear decides that one of my little kids is a tasty afternoon snack.

Posted by Chris @ 11:59 pm  

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  1. Karly says:

    Um, yikes? That is freakin’ scary! I would have probably sat in the driveway and called 911. Cuz I’m brave like that.

  2. Angel says:

    Kinda makes The Three Little Bears story not so charming, eh? I would have been hysterical and the poor 911 operator lucky enough to answer my call would have thought me crazy.

    At least you had the presence of mind to snap photos so the rest of us would have something to read. :o)

  3. Lisa says:

    For the rest of the night Miles kept saying, “Bear ate my POOP, mama.”

    You made me cry, Chris.

    Regarding the protection of the kiddos thing, did you ever see the Sopranos episode where Tony is huddled next to their pool with a rifle to protect the family from a bear? Hilarious.

  4. Jaime says:

    We had a bear camp out on our porch one day when I was a teen. A friend and I were home alone, at the whopping age of 13 or so. We were supposed to be outside practicing for upcoming cheerleading tryouts, and the bear came up. We were so scared we sat up in a 2nd floor window seat for hours, waiting for him to leave. That’s what you get, I guess, when you live in a place called Bear Creek.

  5. The Wooden Porch says:

    Wow, the scariest thing I ever see in my yard are the times when my husband pees in the driveway.

  6. Anna says:

    We are all Mama Bears at heart. We live in a rural area with all manner of wildlife, I feel for you. The thought of armed playtime is not a pleasant one. Save for those therapy sessions.

  7. Deputy's Wife says:

    Holy Crap! Is there like a bear removal service you could call? Those pictures freaked me out when I flipped to your page. OMG! And here I was just bitching tonight about the neighbor dog in our yard. After seeing this, I need to shut-up.

    Would it be illegal to put poison in Miles’ used diaper?

  8. Liz in Australia says:

    Oh my gosh! I cannot imagine seeing a bear in my garden. At least all the things that could potentially kill you in Australia are a heck of a lot smaller than that…

  9. Jennifer says:

    AHH! Scary. I think I would have called 911. And made a total fool out of myself. What’s a paramedic going to do BEFORE a bear attack?

  10. theotherbear says:

    Yeah I’m with The Wooden Porch and Liz In Australia! (Only I actually TELL my hubby to wee out on the lime tree because I read somewhere they like it. It’s still scary though)

  11. jenijen says:

    Isn’t it freaky when they stand up and you can see just how big they are? *shudder* glad that you all got inside safe and sound.

  12. poppy fields says:

    WOW! How will you proceed knowing that there are bears in your yard? What happens when the kids want to go out and play?

  13. Carolynn says:

    I know it would be pretty scary to come across a bear in my yard, but at the same time I can’t help but think HOW AWESOME is that. Would love to have been there to get some good pics.

    Mind you here in Aus we get some pretty BIG RED Kangaroos, especially the bucks, they can be pretty scary when they stand up to you and can do one hell of a lot of damage too, you can believe it.


  14. Molly says:

    Chris, I’m very concerned about this. Honestly, I’m worried. It seems likely that the bear(s) would return, and after all, they aren’t domesticated animals, sorry to point out the obvious! But please, please do some research about bears, and contact some kind of authorities in your area. I want you and your kids to be safe!! There are some good books about bears on amazon. Thinking of you.

  15. Heather says:

    Don’t worry. You can call animal control and they can go out, but all they really do it make a lot of noise. Bears havea good memory, so they will remember somewhere that was noisy, and they are not big fans of the racket. So, if you make your garbage harder to get to, and then make a lot of noise when you see them again, they’re likely to move on.

    I would have been pretty scared (and a little awed), but I don’t think they want to eat you. In general, bears are actually pretty chill as long as you don’t mess with their food or their cubs…

  16. peepnroosmom says:

    “Bear ate my POOP mama!”
    I am laughing so hard right know I have tears streaming down my cheeks.
    My MIL had a bear in her front yard eating something. She called the police and they came out and took pictures! Didn’t remove the bear, just took pictures.

  17. Bekah says:

    I agree with Heather-
    My advice to you Chris is to attach jingle bells to all your kids for a bit or give them whistles and let them go blow them like crazy. When hiking you are advised to carry a bell or a whistle to make noise should you see a bear.
    These are black bears which are pretty timid on the bear scale– but you still don’t want to piss them off. So as long as you remove the food source and not see any cubs, you should be fine.
    But you can read a lot, if you haven’t already since the original post, about some towns that have been overrun by black bears that have discovered some sources of trash. I guess they are a big fan of donuts– didn’t know they also had a taste for diapers.

    My big thing in these situations too is to not instill unnecessary fear in kids– they should be in awe and they should be cautious of course, but unhealthy fear of bears, wolfs, snakes, etc. just leads to knee-jerk attitudes that is not for the good of our planet.
    Thank you- I’ll get off my soap box now and have some breakfast.

  18. Brigitte says:

    Yep, I agree you’ll have to lock up the garbage like it’s Fort Knox, and put it out seconds before the garbage men arrive, inconvenient as that is. Gotta protect those precious poop diapers after all.

    Now what to do if you want a backyard BBQ or picnic? I’ve always wanted to see a bear, but I don’t think I want it quite THAT close . . .

  19. Jeana says:

    How do you remove the food source when the food source is dirty diapers? “Miles, it’s time to potty train and our VERY LIVES DEPEND UPON IT.”

    What cracked me up is the number one in the title, a throw-back to your “BREEDER!!!1!!” t-shirt.

    And off-topic, I wonder if the troll who followed me over from here and told me I don’t act like a Christian and then called me words my mother wouldn’t let me say is the same one who slammed Christine’s Haiku. I guess I’m in good company.

  20. Brigitte says:

    I’m back, I wondered if the !!!1!! was on purpose too!

    And in honor of this entry, I had to dig up this thing that goes ’round the e-mail circuit every so often:

    In my next life…. I want to be a bear. If you’re a bear, you
    get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months.
    I could deal with that.

    Before you hibernate, you’re supposed to eat yourself stupid. I
    could deal with that, too.

    If you’re a bear, you birth your children (who are the size of
    walnuts) while you’re sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute
    cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.

    If you’re a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat
    anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you
    swat them too. I could deal with that.

    If you’re a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He
    EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.

    Yup ….. Gonna be a bear.

  21. Holli Smith says:

    Those are really cool pics… but WOW a bear! I would’ve been too scared to move. I once had a big pig chase me and I screamed like a baby and ran to the loft of the barn and called my friend crying to come get this stupid pig put back away! LOL!
    Geesh, now don’t I feel stupid?!

  22. Kim says:

    We have seen lots of wildlife in our backyard (foxes, deer, coyotes, rabbits, wild turkeys, hedgehogs) but never bears. I would be totally freaked. I hope they don’t come back!

  23. mary Anne says:

    I wouldn’t get too buzzed about black bears.
    They are “waking up” at this time of the year and often show up in odd places. Just remove the food source.
    One of my husband’s partners moved to the area from Chile recently and lives about a mile down the road from us. Shortly after they moved in his daughter came out to the kitchen and said a Bear was looking in the den window.
    The parents corrected her English saying “you mean deer”. No she meant bear! It was peering in the window next to the computer desk where she had been working!
    The joys of life in the burgh!

  24. Kristen says:

    So I’m reading this post to my husband when 26 month old Ethan overheard the part about the bear eating the diaper. It traumatized him too. He was really bugged by it. He climbed up on my lap to see if there was a picture of the bear eating the diaper. He’s now walking around the house all upset. Please tell Miles that Eat feels his pain.

  25. Jennifer says:

    I can imagine the excitement at seeing an honest to goodness bear in the yard. We did have a fox stop traffic on Main St last week but given that it was probably rabid I’d rather have the bear.

  26. Tammy H. says:

    Oh my - Not to scare you, but I would NEVER go outside again!! Pray for the snow and cold weather to come back immediatly!!! :)

  27. meritt says:

    Rather than being freaked out I just smiled. Brought back memories of living up in Brainerd, Minnesota. :)

    I’m glad for the entertainment for your kids, but obviously GROSSED OUT by the bear eating the poop. I truly never ever thought they did that. Maybe he had little kernals of corn in there.


  28. Jodi says:

    I’m sure I shouldn’t think that is really neat, but I do anyway. If that had been my yard it would have been difficult to keep my kids from running out for a closer look.

    This past winter my sister walked by her front (glass) door and there was a MINK sitting there, glaring at her. I told sis that Mr. Mink was just sizing up her microscopic chihuahua and licking his fuzzy lips.

  29. Cathy says:

    Oh, man, and I was worried about that silly little rat snake I found. Two bears definitely trump a rat snake.

  30. maria says:

    okay - I’m such a dope - instead of thinking how scary - I keep thinking - that is the coolest thing ever (I live in the city and even growing up in Iowa we didn’t get anything wilder than stray dogs…) but then when you said you couldn’t let the kids outside with out I realized what an inconvenience having a dangerous (but really cool) wild animal in your neighborhood.

    I did also agree w/someone who thought you could use this as a spring board for potty training…(I often think of you when I complain that w/my 3 I’ve been potty training for 5 yrs)

    Good luck!

  31. Ashley says:

    OMG.. I couldn’t even imagine..how scary. Poor Miles..LOL

  32. Katie says:

    That’s kinda cool in a scary way. We went camping in bear country once and I couldn’t sleep at all. I like the idea of tying bells around the children though.

  33. Heather says:

    My poor mother has bears and moose to deal with. She lives in Alaska and to her its just another day in the neighborhood. Me being a city girl, would have probably passed out at the sight of a bear, A BEAR climbing my tree!

  34. Lilly says:

    “Black Bears eat grasses, herbs, fruits and might feed on carrion and insects [and poopy diapers]… They seldom attack unless cornered or threatened and typically have long since run for cover before one catches sight of them.”

    The good thing is that black bears aren’t really predators and they’re not looking to eat you (like the mountain lions we have near here). The worrisome thing is that your kids are small and you don’t want them out there with something like a bear regardless of the bear’s intentions.

    Is it rare to have bears in your neighborhood? Perhaps the bears are just moving through the area?

    Great that you got the photos. I’ve seen a mountain lion a few times and haven’t had my camera with me yet.

  35. Christine says:

    Well, if bears really do avoid noise, and if your kids are anything like mine … they won’t come within 400 miles of them when they’re outside running crazy.

    I have a four-year-old that has not stopped singing and talking since the fall. I could mail her to you. Just keep her on your back porch and throw her some string cheese on occasion.

  36. Maddy says:

    Omigosh! How exciting! Now that’s an experience your kids will remember forever.

    You need to move to an urbanized suburb somewhere? Where there are no bears?

  37. Meg says:

    Okay, I’m sorry to laugh at the terror of your bears, but this was hilarious. I’m particularly ashamed of giggling at the mental image I have of you guys all making a break for it…

  38. Jess says:

    You are much braver than I. I would have thrown the van in reverse and called 911 in the process. Scary stuff Chris.

  39. Tuesday says:

    I was once floating in my pool as a bear jsut liek that one came and walked right past me and my dog who was barking her head off. She just walked right in the middle of my yard back into the woods.

    Also try waking up and looking out the window right by your head and see a bear walk by. Scared isn’t the word.

  40. Darren McLikeshimself says:

    Ha! Well, maybe Miles meant it more like, “Can you believe that?! He ate POOP!”

  41. Shelly says:

    Can’t you call someone about the bear thing? I know they have them up where my folks live and the city/county tries to move them away from people.

    I think it’s soooooooooooo funny though that the bear ate the diaper and Mile was horrified. I can just hear it - my 3 year old would have said the same thing when he was in diapers!

  42. Shelby says:

    Wow Scary! I would be so afraid for them to be outside. I wish/hope they never come back.Poopy diapers…yuck, they must have been hungry or Miles is eating some great food.

  43. Mary W says:

    When we lived in New Mexhellhole there were mountain lions in our neighborhood- scared the pee out of me.

  44. pat says:

    Good Lord is all I can say.

  45. Annie says:

    The first post of yours I ever read was your bear post from a few years ago and it was hilarious. Maybe he was just coming back for 15 more minutes of fame. Perhaps you should lock up your garbage like they do in the parks. They make a wooden, locking enclosure to set the cans in. The whistle things sounds good, but after you listen to all 7 of your kids blow those whistles all day long, you may wish for that bear to come back! Only kidding of course…I just despise the sound of a relentless whistle.

  46. kalisah says:

    Holy crap!Worst I ever get in the suburbs of Memphis is a few warty toads now and then. Which aren’t really scary, you just have to remember not to walk outside at dusk barefoot.

  47. wookie says:

    I used to work with black bears albiet in a much more remote area. I apologize in advance as I’m going to sound bossy, I honestly don’t mean to offend, I’m just very concerned.

    I would encourage you to call animal control, because wether they can or will do anything, they need to know about it. The bears might bugger off, they might stick around, who knows. If they stick around you’ve got a very dangerous problem on your hands.

    If you have anywhere more secure to keep your garbage cans (like a shed with a sturdy, padlocked door or a garage), I would highly reccommend it, because you want the bears to have no reason to revisit your property. Your BBQ is another source of possible interest for them.

    You don’t have pets, so that is one less thing to worry about.

    I would suggest that your kids STICK TOGETHER and make lots of noise when they are out (that last part shouldn’t be hard). You don’t have to have a whistle, just normal noise will do… the goal is that you don’t surprise the bear, and normal kids playing and screeching etc. should suffice. They talk about hikers carrying whistles because people walking doesn’t usually make enough noise.

    If one of your kids likes to go for solitary hikes he needs to educate himself on bear safety… personally, I wouldn’t want him out alone at all, but your older kids are likely quite independent and maybe very capable of handling that kind of risk well. That’s totally up to you.

    Be careful yourself, as well, if you have a clothesline that is near the wooded part of your property line, be careful and make lots of noise when you’re out there. I startled a bear once who was examining my clothesline and he rumbled back into the woods with my jeans on his back.

    Lastly, this is the ontario link for bear information, I hope you find it handy:

  48. Susan says:

    Wow! That’s very scary. We’ve had one bear on our property before, but since we’re in the desert, it’s easy to spot them since there aren’t a lot of trees to hide in.

    My son had a huge bobcat on his campus yesterday, and about a year ago here at work, I had one eating an owl under my car! I see lots of coyotes where I am, too.

    Anyway - stay safe!

  49. Courtney says:

    Yikes! I’d have run for it too!

    I am cracking up at Miles though!
    “Bear ate my POOP, mama.”

  50. kathy says:

    I remember pre-kids, being on the top of the Chilkoot pass (between Yukon and Alaska) in a tent after hanging my food and toothpaste and cooking downstream from the tent, being awakened pre-dawn and all I could think of was Far Side cartoons with a ginormous bear-like animal feasting on the tent filled with me and thinking, “hmmm…crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside…”

  51. paula says:

    Ok that is really scary! I live on the south shore of Massachusetts (Cape Cod area) so the most wildlife I see are deer and wild turkeys (which are nasty and mean themselves) but seeing a bear would send me into paralyzing fear!

  52. Heather says:

    Holy moly!! Did you call anyone? You sure know how to make things exciting, heh? :)

  53. Tamatha says:

    There was a study done a few years ago that suggested playing heavy metal music would discourage wildlife, including bears, coyote, bobcat, racoon, etc, from milling about. As an added bonus, learning all the songs to Metallica could be counted as a music lesson for homeschool purposes…and then you could REALLY get your neighbors talking!

  54. Wendy says:

    I would never leave my house again. I am scared to death of the neighbor’s Pitbull that is tied up in their yard. I am waiting for it to break off the runner, happened once so far, and then eat us.

    If I ever saw a bear, I would nail up the doors and windows. Sorry, kids we are stuck with each other forever.

    Good Luck and hopefully this will be the only sighting. Can you call animal control or something?

  55. joann says:

    I am a longtime reader but seldom comment but I am moved to say, THIS WOULD FREAK ME OUT. I have four kids and would be completely stressed about getting them all into the house with bear in the yard. YIIIIIIKKKKEEESSSS!!!!

  56. Tonja says:

    You need to call someone… like the DNR. In the meantime, don’t leave any porage out cooking when you leave and make sure all your beds are made.

  57. Carola says:

    Sorry to be laughing here, but I couldn’t help it…the way you tell the story is too funny.

  58. Kelly says:

    Tonja: LOL!!!

    Bear: Scary!!!

    Miles/Poop: Hilarious!!!

  59. Jenn says:

    Holy Cow!!!
    Cool pics.

  60. daring one says:

    Dude. I saw a large raccoon in my yard a couple of nights ago and nearly peed my pants. Everyone else was asleep and I was worried he’d fly through the window and get me. It was late.

  61. julie says:

    You are way braver than me. I would have stayed in the car forever. I agree, you should get a very large riffle to protect the children. Holly Molly!

  62. Daisy says:

    I guess there is something to be said about living in the middle of a medium sized city. The largest wild animal we’ve dealt with was a woodchuck. Or was it the raccoon? never mind. Bear with me, I’m just wishing you good luck.

  63. Nothing Gold » Blog Archive » Get Clickin’ says:

    [...] one is hilarious! Check out Chris’ exciting find here. It’s her toddler son’s trauma that is so [...]

  64. Denise says:

    and I was scared by the garter snake in my yard the other day.. pssshah

  65. Andrea Q says:

    They say in Yosemite that a fed bear is a dead bear. When they discover an easy-to-get food source, they’ll come back. Once they make it a habit, they’ll get more aggressive. This is a sad story about a bear that discovered human trash is good food: http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/583.htm

  66. morgan says:

    i think that we need to re-learn how to co-exist with wildlife. i agree with educating the fam on how to be safer around bears. i agree with doing everything you can not to provide an attractive food source. moreover, i would hate to see the bears killed by animal control simply because they happen to live in the neighborhood too.

    i thought the website recommended by wookie was excellent–it provides facts on how bears live/think and how you can live more safely among them.

  67. Joy H says:

    No worries about the diaper. I think “I” would have pooped my pants. YIKES!

  68. amy jo johnson gallery says:

    amy jo johnson gallery…

    Man i just love your blog, keep the cool posts comin…..