Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | May 10, 2011

Life in the Suburbs – It’s Bearable

I’ve seen lots of wildlife in my yard the 28 years that I’ve lived here.  First, there were my four kids and their friends and now my grandkids and their friends.  We have been visited by squirrels galore, raccoons, opossum, rats, snakes (poisonous and non), and a plethora of birds, including a pair of bald eagles.  But I never thought I would get the call that came last week from my neighbor and friend, Melodye.  “Hey, guess what I saw in your driveway last night behind your car?” she asked.

“Oh no, a rat?” I asked with fear – the memory and smell of last year’s “rat incident” still haunts me.  It seems a pair of rats wanted to make a home in the frame of my Ford Explorer and getting out proved to be much more difficult than getting in.  Bob and I had barely gotten in the car when we were overwhelmed by the most ungodly smell I have ever experienced.  It was so bad that Bob tore my dashboard apart trying to find it.  There were flies swarming in our front yard (not kidding) and a skunk walked over to us asking if his brother was here (kidding).  I’m talking bad.  It took two days at the Ford dealership to remove the rodents and sanitize my car.  We were told that when they finally located them in the pillar near the driver’s door and pulled the correct panel off, the entire garage area cleared in two seconds flat.  I’m talking REALLY bad.  This gave new and enhanced meaning to the phrase, “I smell a rat.”

But I digress, have you guessed what Melodye saw yet?  I’ll give you a hint – the last time I was in Yellowstone I didn’t see one.  That’s right – it was a bear.  A bear – in my driveway, in the suburbs, not ten miles from downtown Orlando!  I was excited out of my mind.  I had to see the bear.  I gave her the word that she was to call me ANYTIME, day or night if she spotted him again.  I went out front to look for evidence.  No paw prints, no scat, but the Society Garlic that is planted by my mailbox was crushed.  Hummmm, maybe an Italian bear.

There have been more sightings – somebody’s dog ran a baby bear up a tree.  A couple having morning coffee on their back porch spotted baby and mama at the edge of the woods.  Bob and I have taken to walking around late at night eating spaghetti just in case he’s still out there.  Maybe the garlic smell will bring him out of hiding.

We had our five-year-old granddaughter, Ella, spend the night with us on Friday.  We took her out to dinner and then we went bear hunting.  We parked the car down by our neighborhood lake and walked around a bit.  Ella was very brave.  All we found was a dead raccoon, which the gators would likely drag off as soon as the sun set.

Our bear hunting expedition may not have been the brightest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m hoping that Dena (my daughter) doesn’t cut us off from the kids.  I hear that more accidents happen to children at their grandparents’ house than anywhere else.  Typically, medication is the risk when at grandparents’ houses, not being molested by wild carnivores.  I guess we’ll go back to bird watching.  It’s a little tamer.



  1. You really made me laugh – after reading about Carol Burnett and comparing personalities – I think you are related. And I would know.

  2. Hi Bonnie,
    If laughter is good for the soul, I just had a banquet reading about your adventures! Last night I went on a wildlife expedition myself here in the wilds of New Jersey (actually, here in southern New Jersey there are a lot of wildlife management areas). A bunch of us went on a “frog slog”. It was great slogging around in a vernal pool hearing a wide variety of frogs calling out with all their hearts. Our leader identified the calls for us with a CD player. I caught a northern tree frog, which was cool. A couple of rare and beautiful Pine Barren tree frogs were caught, as well. All were released after we watched them in an aquarium for a while.

    • Your adventure sounds like a nightmare for me. Did you know that I am frogophobic? But I know you had a great time. Thanks.

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