Bear Rampages Laundry Room, Leaves Calling Card
A bear-illo day in the life of a Canadian can sometimes mean interactions with wildlife that border on the bizarre and surreal, or what I’m calling: “The Incident with Mr. Bruin.” As the Visitor Centre Manager for Powell River, I have many discussions about bear safety with our visitors, but then there are times when none of the ‘bear safety’ advice applies. This is one of those times.
Thursday, August 18, 2 am
A sound sleep (and I don’t get many with three little boys) is quite suddenly interrupted by a call from my husband who thinks we are being broken into–and we are! Not by a mysterious hooded hoodlum–but by a misguided juvenile black bear.
This mischievous bear has somehow managed to push open our outside door into our laundry room, which was locked, but perhaps not secure enough as the door tends to swell and stick. Fair enough, but Murphy’s Law dictates that the door closes behind him and while he sups on my laundry soap he’s not all that concerned, until he decides to exit–and stage left is now closed.
Plan B for Mr. Bruin
The next most enticing exit is our cat flap into the kitchen of our house. The bear rips it out and then proceeds to claw at the wood, which splinters and falls away to reveal to my adrenaline-amped gaze, a bear’s nose soon followed by what look like HUGE bear claws continuing to claw away at the hole made to gain entrance into my kitchen.
Unleashing My Inner Mama Bear
Now, a bear is a bear, but a human mama bear with three young boys sleeping in a nearby bedroom is a whole other matter.
I grab up the kitchen broom and swat at the bear, driving it back into the laundry room and yelling to hubby to call 9-11.
Yelling in my best mom voice, “No, bear!” and swiping at the hole with the broom keeps Mr. Bruin at bay and he’s huffing and puffing away in distress in my laundry room, but no way is he gaining entry into my house! And yes, that’s the pure adrenalin talking…
Less than four minutes later, no fewer than four police cars arrive with RCMP who help remove my boys from the house. Satisfied that my boys are no longer in danger, this human mama bear exits the house to our Jeep, which we then drive down the street to be out of the way.
Mr. Bruin is then allowed to finish his escape through my kitchen, living room and out the front of the house with a brief pause to leave his calling card on my kitchen floor before he high-tails it down the street with hopefully a lesson learned–mama bears come in all shapes, sizes and species–and defending our young is always a mama’s top priority.
A statement made to my husband by one of our local finest: “I can’t believe your wife held that bear off with a broom,” was met with my husband’s rather laconic, but sincere reply, “That’s because she wears the pants in our family.”
Don’t even let me get started on the two-and-a-half hours of bear poop cleanup in both our kitchen and laundry room.
Let’s just say–there’s a lot of fruit in a bear’s diet at this time of year–and leave it at that.
By Tracey Ellis