Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Am I So Excited About Garbage Day?

Yep; it's Thursday... garbage day in my neck of the woods... and, I'm excited about it!  You see, up here in the North Georgia Mountains we have bears.  And bears like to forage through people's garbage cans.  Go to 'most any social gathering up here and the subject of bears is likely to come up.  I haven't seen one yet, and I must admit I'd like to... at a safe distance, of course!  Friends and family who have seen them say they are actually quite beautiful.
The only evidence we've had that bears have graced our property is the overturned trash can.  Every time, the bear has delicately lifted the bag out of the trash can and toted this treasure up the hill into the woods. My solution:  keep the trash indoors all week, putting it out in the trash can at the last minute:  Thursday noon-ish.  Thus, my excitement about garbage day! (Kind of pitiful, isn't it?)

Black bears can typically be found in three distinct regions in Georgia, although they will range over larger areas in search of food. They can be found in the North Georgia mountains, along the Ocmulgee River drainage system in the central part of the state and in the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeast. Young male bears often will roam large areas until they are able to establish their own territory.

Bears typically live in swamps and forested areas, especially mature mixed pine stands that offer a plentiful supply of natural foods and trees and thickets that they can escape to for security. Standing, hollow trees are common den sites for Georgia bears. However, brush piles, rock crevices or other places that offer protection may be used.

...having a picnic of grapes...
The typical life span of a bear is about 8 to 15 years  .(I'm not sure how anybody knows this, but it's what the statistics say...)  Wild bears tend to live 23 percent longer than "garbage" bears (those that exist on unnatural foods; kinda' sounds like what happens to people when they eat unnatural foods, doesn't it?). Adult bears are generally up to six feet in length and about three feet high at the shoulder. Female adult bears can weigh up to 300 pounds and adult males can weigh over 500 pounds. Bears have poor eyesight but an excellent sense of smell. They are good tree climbers, can swim well and are able to run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.  The breeding season is in July and cubs are born in the den in late January or February. Bear cubs weigh about eight ounces when born, are relatively undeveloped and entirely dependent on the mother. Cubs stay with their mother throughout the first year, den with her during the following winter and stay with her until she finally drives them away the following spring. Due to this extended care for her young, females only produce a litter every two years.

Bears are considered omnivorous meaning their diet consists of whatever is readily available at that time of year. Diets vary according to what part of the state the bear calls home. However, the majority of their natural diet consists of berries, fruits, acorns, grasses and animal matter, including insects or mammals-even deer. When houses, camps or recreation areas are located within range, bears are naturally attracted to the smells associated with cooking and garbage disposal. Other non-natural attractants include pet food, birdseed, suet, compost piles, gardens, beehives and cornfields. Bears can become attracted to human food when their natural diet sources are scarce. Non-natural type foods are typically easier to obtain and associated with humans, therefore luring bears away from natural food sources and dissolving the bears natural fear of humans. A bear typically will remain in an area where food can be found until that food supply is gone or until other measures are taken. 

 And thus, I am happy it's Thursday - and the garbage men took the trash away - not the bears.

Shalom  Y'all -

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