Bear feasts on watermelons
|Charles Healy of Saluda holds a watermelon that was bitten and scratched by a bear that ravaged his garden.|
by Tom Chillemi
The bear carried some ripe melons into a corn field and feasted. Others were eaten on the spot, judging by the tall grass that was mashed down.
The choosy bear left unripe ones lay where he had tasted them, but rejected them in favor of the sweeter mature melons. He also sampled a small pumpkin.
|Clockwise from left: Matted down grass and corn stalks show where the bear laid down for the feast; the bear ripped through the melons in search of the sweetest; and a quarter gives perspective to the size of the bear’s paw print in the soft garden soil. (Photos by Tom Chillemi)|
Scratch marks and teeth prints on the rind add to the evidence, said Healy, who noted a raccoon could not carry big, full-sized watermelons.
The bear left paw prints in damp soil and a large pile of fragrant dung in the garden, which is about two miles north of Saluda off of Route 17 on Forest Chapel Road (Route 614).
“It was a bear,” said Healy, “There’s no question about it.”
Healy and his wife live in Saluda, and were not near the garden when the bear had his feast.
The bear carried some of the unripe watermelons into the yard.
The bear left several dung piles that contain watermelon seeds, indicating he is the bear that was there before, said Haley.
Haley said a motion camera will be placed in the garden to try and get a photo of the bear on Friday night.