Thursday, July 9, 2009

Does anyone have the number for Animal Control?

No, not for my dogs...or even for my neighbors' dogs. I need the number for the VERY LARGE foot prints left in my yard!:
My mom was out cutting the grass (or doing other various yard-tending duties that I generally leave to her) and found a big pile of poo. I looked at it and very quickly figured out that no, it did NOT belong to either one of the little Shelties; or to any of the cats or bunnies that roam freely through the neighborhood either. Lets put it this way, this poo-pile was easily the size of one of my girls' HEADS. Yes, the pile was that big. (You'll have to take my word for it, as no, I did not get any of the pictures of the pile of poo.) The other observation (other than me thinking/saying out loud: "HOLY CANOLI THAT IS A BIG PILE OF POO!) was that it was FULL of seeds. Like, seed from a neighbors bird feeder seeds. So, as I am not a wild-life expert, I did not know what had left this mass of mess. Maybe it was a deer? They eat seeds right?

Well, maybe that is plausible, but then the next bit of evidence quickly put that theory to rest. As I was walking away from the seeded deposit, I saw oddly shaped impressions in the soft ground at my feet. My mom had tilled this patch of yard a few weeks prior, and it had not filled in with grass yet. So these new impressions were pretty clear. And they were clearly TRACKS. BIG ONES. Houston, we have a problem. We have a BEAR.

Now, I cant be sure that yes, it is a bear leaving tracks. Again I am no wildlife expert. But I don't think mountain lions (which are not common in this part of the country) or lynx/bobcats eat seeds. Especially not in those amounts. I showed my mom the tracks, and then quickly got the camera. I tried to take pictures of my hand with the tracks and then with Heidi sitting near them for something to visually compare them to, but I'm afraid the pictures aren't that clear. But if you look at the different colored patches of earth, even if you aren't able to make out the shapes, you can see how LARGE they are.

Now were pretty accustomed to wildlife in the yard; although we are the last house on a dead-end street, the end of the street borders a marsh. We frequently get visitors from the wetlands that make their way casually onto our bit of land. We've had turtles (both box and snapping), rabbits (lots and LOTS or rabbits), cats, probably deer and frogs. Frogs of death and doom. I say this not because the frogs are in fact dangerous, but because they SOUND SO. The first spring that were were in the house the frogs made a very conspicuous appearance. They are gray tree frogs, and make a VERY odd noise; a noise that sounds like the sharp trill of a raccoon. My mom was preparing to clean out our empty hot-tub when she heard the noise-she really did think that there was a raccoon trapped beneath the cover. After some very careful maneuvering, she opened the cover (preparing for something large, black-masked and furry to jump out!) and found herself face to face with the real culprit:

Terrifying, isn't it? But a much more welcome sight than this:

Anyways, most of the critters entering our yard have been fairly harmless; I mean the snapping turtle that out-weighed both dogs put together was a little less than friendly, but I've been able to keep the girls away from and prevent them from tangling with the more "dodgy" sort.

But now Ive got to really keep on my toes; especially when letting the girls out for their night-time potty breaks. I'm assuming that "Yogi" (as we've taken to calling our big black furry friend) shows up really late, like in the dead-of-night late, which makes me thankful that we do not have that many emergency "I need to go out NOW" potty trips. And if they do arise, I turn on the light FIRST before opening the door (lets hope Yogi is photo-phobic) and make noise before letting the equally noisy girls out to do their business. I know this is much to my sleeping neighbors chagrin, but...I've got to keep my twenty pound, fluffy mini-rottweilers safe, right? One whiff of the "intruder" in her yard, and Shelby is going to go N-U-T-S. Heidi will just tag along for the ride and bark-fest, but Shelby will be out for blood. Bear blood. And although I'd be willing to bet my own life on her amazing recall, Id prefer not to have to test it and bet HER life on it at 2 am some stormy night. I'd rather be safe than sorry. One more lesson down. Thanks girls...


  1. Wow - can't believe it - a bear in your own backyard! It's both exciting and frightening at the same time! Be careful!

  2. We have bear sightings around here occassionally. I always wanted to see one, but not footprints in my yard! Yikes!

    We are more concerned about coyotes. So, we always turn our lights on first too when letting the dogs out at night.

  3. By crikey, your back yard is full of furry critters!! We'd love to have seen that pile of bear poop :)