This bears repeating: No, just no

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Black Bear

A huge blob that appeared on the National Weather Service’s radar wasn’t a rain cloud, but a massive swarm of ladybugs over Southern California.

Gainesville Florida Area Gator Eats Whole Block Of Cheese After Crashing Picnic Date.

Spider in vehicles causes driver to crash into pole.

Blood Sucking “Kissing Bug” Found In Maryland & Virginia.

All of the above are headlines that came to my attention in the past few weeks. All these years while people have been worried about Russia (are we still worried about them? I grew up during the Cold War years so that was my focus), we never thought it would be the ladybugs, spiders and bears that would take us down.

I have lived in the Buckeye State my entire life. It’s actually a pretty cool state. I have put up with four seasons (sometimes all in one day!) while taking comfort in the fact that we don’t have very many deadly wildlife.

I have tempered the biting cold and knee-deep snow with the fact that, on the whole, Ohio does not have a whole lot of animals that are attempting to kill you. We don’t deal with a lot of poisonous snakes.

Our spiders, when they aren’t trying to take the wheel and steer you into a pole (which, if you ask me, is the only reasonable response to a spider on you in a vehicle), are generally the nontoxic kind. I don’t enjoy being startled by anything — mice, snakes, bats.

Still, as long as they stay away from me, most of our state’s wildlife have a propensity for showing their good side more than their teeth (or fangs). They fight other bugs. They are harmless. They are good for the environment.

The public relations for Ohio-based wildlife has been pretty good. They have us out here building bat houses to control mosquitoes. We are all but inviting possums in to live with us. We know they are great at eradicating ticks. We spread bait to vaccinate raccoons against rabies so we can all live in peace.

Then the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the words that struck fear in every indoorsy heart: Ohio warns residents to bear-proof yards.

No thank you. Let me say again for the record. No. Just no. No bears allowed.

I haven’t the foggiest idea of how to bear-proof my yard. Other than hiding all the picnic baskets, of course.

I have had mice, bats, rats, raccoons and foxes. I have seen bugs with more legs than I can count. I have grown used to both lady beetles (they are no ladies!) and stinkbugs so much so that I consider them just roommates at this point.

I have maneuvered around snakes and wished them no harm as long as they stay outdoors. We have had peacocks, for pity’s sake.

I think I’ve been pretty game about the whole, well, game thing. I did not, however, sign up for bears.

‘Overgrown raccoons’

Now I am assured that “Black bears, which are more active at dusk, dawn and night, aren’t aggressive by nature.” They call them “overgrown raccoons.”

Raccoons are wily, sneaky and fairly destructive. I’m not sure it’s really a comfort to imagine a raccoon big enough to eat me. I would find that fairly frightening, actually.

I haven’t been able to outwit bats or mice in nearly two decades. Peacocks parade over our property like they own the place.

Even rabbits have pretty much taken over. We call our property Rabbit Run Lane based almost entirely on the propensity for the suicidal driveway bunnies (great name for an alternative band by the way) to leap in front of our cars.

Taking all this into consideration, I don’t have a lot of faith in my ability to bear-proof myself.

According to the wildlife experts, if people encounter a black bear, they can clap their hands and wave their arms in the air to try to scare it away. No word on whether cowering has any impact on a bear, but I assure you that’s what I plan to do.

I have always had a “live and let live” relationship with wildlife. I prefer they stay outside my home and vehicles and, in the case of bears, my property lines.

Now I have to rethink my entire commitment to my home state. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the car.

Except according to recent headlines: Kentucky man finds family of bears sitting in his car.

Does anyone know if bears in a car scare off the spiders? That’s the only way I can see this working out.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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