Bears and Object Recognition

We had a bear on the porch Saturday morning.  We know this because it took the black garbage can from the porch, pulled the lid off, and strewed scraps of wood, cloth, paper and diet soda empties across the drive.  I had heard of bears that recognized the shapes of garbage cans – and this seems to be the case.  It left the indoor type garbage can alone, and a box with similar contents.  Shape, I think, not smell.  Poor little mess maker didn’t even get a snack, much less a meal.  I am definitely glad it stayed out of the garden . . . reinforcing the idea that this bear hunts for shapes, not by scent.

It’s not the first time my garbage was raided.  The first time was in Trinidad, Colorado, in the early years of my first professor mikey gig.  That time it was a large dog that tipped over the garbage can and ran whimpering away.  I put 2 and 2 together after I rushed out to pick the mess up bare handed, and discovered that Renata had heavily pruned an indoor cactus, cleverly concealed all the cuttings in white plastic bags, and picking up those white plastic bags was an experience that could be compared with juggling porcupines. 

This time, young no more, I picked up the trash in the painless method, using a tool to pick things up without bending.  I feel a lot better picking up after the bear than I did picking up the camouflaged cactus clippings.

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