In the past week, two bears were spotted in Chapel Hill. Also, Orange County released a guide for how to haze coyotes which are apparently roaming around our area. And also, it’s pup-rearing season for bats, which devour their own body weight in insects on a nightly basis. (You’re not allowed to remove bats from a home in North Carolina between May 1 and July 31.)

Ok, let’s take these one at a time.

Bears in Chapel Hill

The twitter account only reactivates after a bear sighting and then hibernates for many years. We appreciate the bit!

Two black bears were spotted on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd on the nights of June 3 and 4. According to the pamplet “Coexisting with Black Bears” on the Orange County website, there has not been an unprovoked bear attack in North Carolina. Here are some tips if you “already have a problem with a bear” which weirdly does not include: “run faster than your friend.” #hahaha

Try repellents, but don’t rely on them. There are no repellents that are registered for use on bears. Sprinklingammonia or other strong disinfectants on garbage can mask the odor of food. • Frighten the bear. Shouting, clapping, blasting a car horn or motion-sensitive lights may scare off a bear temporarily. • Leave the bear alone. Crowds of people can unnerve a bear, causing it to act unpredictably. The crowd should disperse and allow the bear to move on undisturbed. • Install electric fencing. It protects beehives, dumpsters, gardens, compost piles, or other potential food sources. • Talk to your neighbors. Make sure your neighbors and community are aware of ways to prevent bear conflicts
Remember to find your bear pamphlet if you already have a problem with a bear.

Coyotes in Orange County

The Orange County website’s most popular pages are the following, in this order:

Consider that for a moment. Then remove your bird feeders, keep your shrubbery trimmed, and let any coyotes that come near your home “know [they are] unwelcome near your home.”

The county also maintains a list of interesting coyote facts. There are 5. We’re going to add a 6th fact: In 2008, a coyote startled Carrboro Town Council member Randee Haven-O’Donnell when it bounded around the trail in front of her, pursuing a squirrel in the Carolina North Forest.


Bats scare the shit out of me

how to trap a bat with a shoe box
If there’s a bat in your house, don’t panic says Orange County.

There are 17 different bat species in North Carolina. If a bat enters your home between May and July, you now have a new roommate because it’s illegal to remove bats during their pup-rearing season. Sorry.

If a bat does enter your home, Orange County recommends not “panicking” because “the solutions are simple.” However I, Melody Joy Kramer, am giving you permission to briefly panic before trying to trap it it in a shoe box. I really want to meet the graphic designer who made the IKEA-like instructions for trapping a bat inside a shoe box.

Orange County’s website also contains guides for a variety of wild animals you definitely don’t want in your home, including:

Sweet dreams!

In the last municipal election cycle, we helped increase turnout by over 20 percent. We're all volunteers who care deeply about Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and we're working to make Chapel Hill and Carrboro more vibrant, accessible, fun, and sustainable.  Please consider a small donation to help us keep our digital lights on, host events, and hire students to do data deep-dives.

Melody Kramer is a Peabody-award winning journalist whose work has appeared on NPR and member stations around the country, as well as in publications ranging from National Geographic to Esquire Magazine....