Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | September 27, 2017

Kepler, Bears, & Raccoons

(4 Minute Read)

American Black Bear

Woof! Woof! This is Kepler again, Master’s Parson (Jack) Russell terrier. I’m writing another article for Master’s blog.

Master is the BibleScienceGuy, and he said I could tell about my Northwoods hunting adventures.


Recently we were at a state recreation area campground during bear hunting season. Some bear hunters camped near us; they went out every day to hunt bears nearby. All the discussions, stories, and activity stimulated me. I urgently wanted to exercise my own hunting skills.

The Great Creator made me to hunt. I’m designed to hunt rabbits, rats, badgers, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, possum … even deer, boars, and bears. Surely, I thought, Master would let me round up a bear for our hunter friends.

I asked Master if I could go with them and help find bears. I absolutely knew I could do it. But Master said he didn’t think it was a good idea.

And Missus said she didn’t want me to get hurt. I think she cried a little. I replied that I am very fast, very quick, and very agile. No bear claws would be able to swipe me … not to worry!

Besides, when King David was a shepherd boy he killed bears with his bare hands (1 Samuel 17:34-37). If as a youth he killed bears, I could certainly round up bears for our bear hunter friends to shoot.

I reminded Master and Missus that my younger brother Finn is in Poland siring prize litters as fast as he can. In between stud appointments, he hunts deer and boars. What a life!

I would hunt bears just like Finn hunts boars. Finn finds a boar and holds it at bay for the hunters by circling round and round. He hangs on to its tail with his teeth if the boar tries to run off. In similar fashion, I would chomp down on a bear’s stubby tail with my jaws until a hunter catches up and kabooms the bear.

Here is what happened.

I smelled the first one in the deep woods behind our campsite. It was coming closer through the dark. I tried to let our bear hunter friends know a bear was coming. It got pretty close!

Missus and Master were eating burgers at the picnic table and oblivious to the danger. That wonderful aroma was drawing the bear. Could I get the bear before it got Missus and Master?

I so badly wanted to go into the woods after it. But I couldn’t due to my tether. So I barked and barked and barked.

At first I was sure it was a bear. But then I wasn’t so sure. Soon I realized it was only a raccoon. Still, I wanted to charge into the woods and make it clear that it was getting too close to Master’s campsite. After some more vigorous barking, with Henry helping, the raccoon decided to leave. Off he scampered.


Later I learned from Master that I was not the first to mistake a raccoon for a bear. So did Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy (classifying plants and animals). He originally placed the raccoon in the bear genus Ursus in 1740, naming it Ursus cauda elongata (long-tailed bear). Later in 1758 he changed it to Ursus Lotor (washer bear). Today we know raccoons and bears are unrelated. They were created separately by the Great Creator on Creation Day Six.

The raccoon I drove away from our campsite was not the end of the raccoons. I smelled more the next day when we took our garbage to the dumpster. About 100 feet from the dumpster, Henry and I started telling Master and Missus that there were raccoons in the dumpster.

Raccoons Sleeping in Dumpster

Raccoons Relaxing in Dumpster

When we got to the dumpster, Master looked in. Sure enough he saw two raccoons lying in the back corner of the dumpster, pictured above. The raccoons had climbed in to eat garbage and couldn’t get out.

It was easy for them to climb into the dumpster because of various footholds on the outside and the adjacent wooden fence. But it’s not easy climbing out of an almost empty 5-foot-tall dumpster. Dumpster inner walls are completely smooth so that when the dumpster is upended, the contents will slide out and not get hung up on the sides.

Several years ago I saw Master and Missus learn about getting out of a dumpster the hard way. On one of our winter camping trips, Missus got in a dumpster to help Master retrieve an oversize pallet for our campfire. They got the pallet out, but getting Missus out of the empty dumpster turned out to be harder than they anticipated. It was the funniest thing I ever saw. (Click here for the story.)

Rangers told us that the raccoons stay in the dumpster until it fills with garbage or until someone puts in a long tree limb that they can use to climb out. On most of our trips to the dumpster, there were at least two raccoons inside. One day we counted six adult raccoons inside the dumpster! I was amazed at how many there were — and very pleased they were trapped and couldn’t get out.

I am against putting limbs in dumpsters to let the raccoons climb out. Without me, they would be a nuisance in the campground and a potential danger. If it were up to me, I would let the garbage trucks empty the dumpsters and carry off the raccoons.

Three Raccoons in a Tree

Three Raccoons in a Tree

We saw so many raccoons that I asked Master to tell me about the animal. He said it’s one of the Great Creator‘s most interesting creatures.

The raccoon is a 10-20 pound mammal native to North America. It’s known for its facial mask, ringed tail, wily intelligence, and “washing” food at streams. But Master said the raccoon’s brain is not wired for automobile traffic. He sees more coons “sleeping” by roadsides than all other animals combined.

Christopher Columbus was the first person to make a written record of the raccoon, and some say his crew discovered it. Master said Christopher Columbus and his crew may have been the first Europeans to see the animal, but many American Indian tribes were quite familiar with it long before Columbus arrived. Even they did not “discover” the raccoon. Forty-five hundred years ago Noah and his family knew the animal; they had a pair on the ark from which all today’s raccoons are descended. Even earlier, in the Beginning, Adam named the animal (Genesis 2:19-20).

Grace Coolidge holding Rebecca Raccoon

Master said raccoons are sometimes kept as pets. This made no sense at all to me, but he assured me it was true.

In fact, he said that U.S. President Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) and his wife Grace kept a pet raccoon named Rebecca in the White House for several years. Rebecca had been sent from Mississippi to be cooked for the Coolidge’s 1926 Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of eating her, Coolidge decided to keep her as a pet.

He fed her shrimp and persimmons and let her run free in the White House. But he used a leash on her outside. The Coolidges gave their son John a $500 raccoon coat for Christmas that year. Rebecca’s opinion of this gift is unknown.

In 1928 Coolidge got Reuben Raccoon as a companion for Rebecca, but the two never clicked, and Reuben disappeared. Rebecca, lured by the garbage cans of the city, escaped the White House grounds increasingly often. Eventually the Coolidges donated her to the national zoo.

I told Master I hoped President Donald Trump would never get a pet raccoon. Master said it was unlikely, as pet raccoons are now illegal in Washington DC.

Dreading to hear the answer, I asked Master how long raccoons lived. He said that in captivity they can live up to 20 years. But in the wild the life expectancy is only two to three years. “Only,” I thought. “That’s way too long for a coon to live. We need more dumpsters and garbage trucks.”

So that’s how things look from the Dog House!

Till next time, this is Kepler signing off. Woof! Woof!

Questions to Ponder

1. Do you think people should put limbs in dumpsters to let raccoons out or not?
2. Why did David tell about killing a bear (1 Samuel 17)?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the 21st article in a series of blog posts on a precocious Jack Russell terrier named Kepler. Numbers 1-8 are by Kepler’s master, the BibleScienceGuy. Numbers 9-22 are by Kepler himself.
Read the prequels:
1. Why I Named Our Puppy “Kepler”
2. Kepler’s Kind
3. Kepler’s Lopsided Trade
4. Kepler’s Amazing Nose
5. Kepler’s Business Card
6. Kepler & the Psycho Squirrel
(with video)
7. Taunting Kepler
8. Adam and Puppies

The following posts are by Kepler:
9. Who Taught Kepler?
10. Kepler Gets a Buddy
(with video)
11. Kepler Chases a Squirrel (with video)
12. Kepler’s Complaint
13. Kepler’s To-Do List
14. Kepler and the Football Weekend
15. Kepler’s Favorite Store
16. Kepler at a Truck Stop
17. Kepler & Henry Catch a Squirrel
18. Kepler Finds Killdeer Eggs
19. Kepler Finds Robin Eggs
20. Kepler Lives to Tell the Tale

Read the sequel:
22. Kepler Mentors Henry

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday September 27, 2017 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)


  1. Kepler had me laughing out loud several times. He is a great story teller with a hidden meaning.


    • Thanks, Mr. Clif, for reading my reports of my adventures with Master and Missus. Glad you enjoy them. Woof! Woof! – Kepler


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