Comment of the Day: Raccoons Are Bastards and Other Tales from the Great Outdoors

Illustration for article titled Comment of the Day: Raccoons Are Bastards and Other Tales from the Great Outdoors

Though bears being lured to campsites by the sweet smell of menstrual blood may be something of an urban legend, coppertree assures us that all the horrible things we've ever thought about raccoons and their unnervingly prehensile claws are absolutely true:

I worked as a wilderness canoeist and guide for many years (over a decade) in Black Bear country here in Ontario and I never had an issue, and I've had some legendary periods out there over the years

The only time I have ever heard semi-legit story correlating menstrual blood and a bear attack was a friend who was living in her tent at the outfitting center, she was away at a friend's house for the weekend and when she returned her tent had been torn apart, her pillow had no damage but her sleeping bag was missing and her therma-rest was shredded. She stayed at my house in town for the next couple of nights. As far as I remember she has no food/hygene products in her tent at the time or ever as she was concerned about bears.

The bigger issue when camping is leaving out food and coolers. At Killbear Provincial Park (that is the English translation of the Ojibwa word for the area) they bait the bear traps with empty coolers. Also racoons are bastards and can open backpacks and blue barrels (that many canoeists up here use) and the rubber/tupperwear style kayak hatches.

Basically blood isn't nearly as tempting as food, or toothpaste (for some reason), to black bears in my experience, so this doesn't surprise me at all, or the cultural narrative that developed the urban legend.


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I used to work at Awenda Provincial Park, which is Southwest of Killbear, but at least when I was there, we were just a bit too far south to have bears on a regular basis (the bears are moving south though, and I wouldn't be surprised if they had a resident bear now). We did have lots and lots of coons though, and I recall one time a group of campers left their cooler out overnight (despite copious signage warning not to do so). It was completely empty by morning.

The people reported to the gatehouse that there *must* have been a bear at their campsite, because it was so noisy in the night, so myself and one of the other naturalists were asked to go out and have a look. No evidence of bears at all, but there were some raccoon prints. Apparently they'd even dragged an entire supermarket rotisserie chicken out into the wood somewhere.

Urban raccoons got into my backyard composter yesterday. I swear, if they ever learn to type, they're taking over the world.