I Can’t Believe I Saw a Bear in My Arizona Backyard!
There's been a lot of recent chatter about humans versus animals lately. Earlier this year, Arizona Game and Fish issued warnings about Mountain Lions and other large cats prowling around Arizona neighborhoods.
With the encroachment of humans into wild animal territory, it's no wonder we're crossing paths more often. Bear citings have been on the rise, lately, too.
If you're hiking or camping, it's not unusual to cross paths with a bear, but it's not very common to find one hanging out in your backyard, but this was one crazy day.
An Extra Deep Clean - And More Trash
One Saturday, I was cleaning the house and getting ready for company to visit from another state. My daughter's birthday was approaching, so it was time to do a little extra deep cleaning, and that included turning out closets, the pantry, and the fridge.
In the process, our trash cans were extra full. The lids weren't sitting quite so snugly and cleaning out my refrigerator and pantry made the garbage a little extra "fragrant".
An Extended Lunch Hour
I'd been in and out of the house making a series of trips to the trash receptacles. As the afternoon wore on, I decided to stop for a break. The weather was warm but nice in the shade, so I grabbed a glass of iced tea and figured I'd stop for a few minutes on my back patio.
Iced tea in hand, I opened the back door. And then, I saw it.
It took me a moment to process what I was seeing. A large, hairy brown dog was tearing my trash apart, knocking the cans over and ripping the bags open.
My brain blinked and tried to understand what my eyes were seeing.
That's a really big dog.
That's a really weird dog.
That's really not a dog.
That's really a...
Crash! And Dash!
That's when the slo-mo cam turned on in my brain. My hand was on the screen door, opening it ever wider. Slowly, my brain caught up with my eyes. I dropped the glass of iced tea, and it smashed on the cement step just outside the door.
The crash interrupted the bear's lunch, and he rose his head at the clatter. We locked eyes for a beat. Then we both sprang into action - in opposite directions!
The giant bear! (Okay, the not really really 'giant' bear. The kind of small-ish bear) ran out of my yard and down the street. I ran back into the house, and slammed the door, my heart racing.
The Last Siting of Trash Bear
I've never seen a bear in my neighborhood before or since, but a few of my neighbors reported seeing the bear near the road or rummaging through their trash cans. According to PestPointers.com, this fairly small bear was most likely an Arizona Black Bear.
Since The Bear Incident, I upgraded my trash cans to a more bear-proof locking model, and try to keep those deep cleaning days closer to trash day so the garbage isn't quite so enticing to wandering trash bears!