Tag Archives: Bears

Bear: Another Wildlife Visitor to Our House

I swear to God, I am running at home something of a cross between “Animal House” and an episode of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.”

You will recall the freaky intruder we had with a bat invading the house. (“I’m Batman”) And that all unfolded while I was on the way back from work from New York City and could do nothing about it.

That was a walk in the woods compared to what happened while my wife and I were visiting her daughter in the San Francisco area.

My cellphone rings while we are visiting Alacatraz and it’s my oldest son, who just graduated from college.

He opens the conversation with “Hypothetically….”

Let me interrupt the narrative here to say that nothing good ever follows an opening like that. And, of course, there is never anything hypothetical about what is to come next.

“Hypothetically,” he says, “what should we do if we had a visit from a bear?”

He proceeds to tell me that the door to the large shed that houses our garbage cans was open and he could see garbage strewn about.

(Take a close look at the bite marks on that Hershey syrup bottle!)



He called public safety, which arrived and assured him that the bruin was gone.

But the thing that kills me is that for 10 years I have preached to the boys about the importance of keeping the lids on the cans securely attached and making sure the garbage bags go INTO the cans. What a concept!

So here I am, 3,000 miles away, trying to coach him through the steps of what to do, which led to this exchange:



My concern is that once a bear is imprinted on a site as a source of food, it will make repeat visits. (Each of the houses adjoining us had been broken into by bears repeatedly.)

Like lamb’s blood marked on thresholds during the first Passover, Michael essentially opened up a fire hose of ammonia (said to repel bears) on the door, the doorway, the footing outside the shed, the doorknob, etc.

That led to this text message:


Yeah, agreed. But it beats the smell of bear scat and rotting garbage.

I’m Batman

And lo, at about 11 o’clock at night, a cry was heard throughout the house.

My youngest son, downstairs, shrieking for my wife.

Meg was in a dead sleep when Dan’s blood-curdling screams echoed through the house.

A fire? A burglar? An injury?

Worse: A bat had somehow gotten into the house.

Dan was watching TV when he heard an odd noise that sounded like the heat coming on. But it was a rapid-fire clicking noise, like the baseboard heat was working overtime.

He put the light on and then he saw it:

Swooping and clicking, the bat made its presence known. And then so did Dan.


I got the call around 11:20 p.m. on my way back from work.

It left me very upset. Here I was, at least another hour away from home, unable to do anything to help as the “man” of the household.

Plus, to be honest, I’m afraid of bats and I did not want to admit that over the phone, fearing it would only make a bad situation worse.

I’ve had experiences with mice in the house. A bit unnerving, but not that big a deal.

And one time, living in New York, my late fiancée and I had a squirrel infiltrate our house. This led to a lifelong antipathy toward squirrels that fueled many practical jokes.


We even had a bear stalk our driveway a few years ago.

Bear sighting 003

Bear sighting 004

But a bat? In the damn house? No, this was new.

Before I got home, Meg had called public safety and not one, but TWO, officers arrived.

And don’t you know that when they got there, there was no sign of the bat, which I had named “Buddy”?

For five full days, there was no sign of Buddy. We figured he had flown the coop, so to speak. (For the record, we are still not entirely sure how he got in.)

We thought we were in the clear, until…

Well, I’ll let Meg’s email take it from here:

Dan spotted a spider, which he was figuring out how to do away with when he looked toward the exercise bicycle and there, hanging on the pleated curtain, was Buddy.

He called me — not the bloodcurdling shriek of a few days ago — but enough to let me know that our friend had returned. I said, “What should we do?”

“Call public safety,” he said.

I did and then crept downstairs, towel in hand.

We waited maybe five minutes for public safety — it was the same guy who had been here before.

But this guy didn’t have the tennis racket. So all three of us waited for the other guy who did.

While we were waiting, I saw movement.

ICK. And then it spread its wings.

DAMN. It was a bigger than I thought. Wing span of maybe 10 inches, tip to tip.

And, of course, it launched. Dan screamed and we both bee-lined for the front door, leaving public safety man to do his thing.

A few moments later, he came out with the very same towel I had brought downstairs, and let the bat go, and the bat, of course, headed straight for us. We moved, pronto, out of its way.

Public safety guy just laughed.

So, Buddy is gone.

Or is he? Dan said that he thought the bat he had seen was much smaller….

So maybe this was Buddy’s mama, and we’re still hosting little Bud.

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