NEWS RELEASE Salisburg Announcer
Salisburg VT June 24 2007

The scare aboout black bears scavenging food remains in the yards and porches of local residencies, as reported earlier in the month in the Salisbury Weekly, was somewhat eclipsed by the report of something which the reading public has found much more interesting and at the same time more dangerous. We present a brief account of this situation from our senior local news reporter, Mr. Abel Teller:

A lady who has expressed a desire that her name not be reported in the press, suspected that some animal was disturbing the array of bird feeders in her front yard, and it seemed especially interested in the two pound lumps of bird suet which were hanging from the branch of a large oak in the yard. Her husband who was an avid amateur photographer had snapped a few pictures of two lumbering black bears the previous month, so she decided to take down the feeders and suet each night to avoid tempting the bears to invade the yard and the screened front porch.

One night in the week of the eighteenth of July, just as she was unhooking the suet from the branch, she spied a large figure moving around at the end of the lawn near the cover of the forest. Being of a cautious but at the same time inquisitive nature, she pretended not to have seen anything and went about her business with the bird feeder, but when she looked toward the end of the lawn she saw something which she thought looked like a six foot komodo dragon approaching the porch. Terrified she flung the suet at the animal and fled to the safety of the kitchen where she could watch the apparition from the safety of a plate glass window. She tried to get a picture with her husband's digital camera which was lying on the windowsill, but he had failed to follow her warning to change the batteries after the last bear photo had failed. The beast seemed satisfied with the suet which she noticed hanging from his jaws as he retreated to the cover of the brush.

When her husband came in from his evening walk, she told him what had happened and what she had seen. Being of a factual mind as suited a late retiree from the Science Faculty at the University, he summarized the whole situation as a piece of sheer imagination, which he summarized by the word Baloney!

But reporter A. Teller took the story to the State Dept. of Environmental Affairs, where it was received with some interest, on the basis of scientific minds always following up on reports of something they did not understand, in order to complete our ultimate comprehension of the complex ways of Nature. So a team was assembled to confer and discuss the Komodo Dragon Situation or KDSin consultation with Dr Helmut Schlange the well known international reptilian expert at the University.

The Professor reported to the KDS Commission that there had been several reports of unusual reptilians in the last decade, and they were now able to assemble a tentative list of the edibles which the KD seemed to prefer. Disdaining family garbage of the leafy lettuce and string bean kind, the animal had an obvious preference for meaty and fatty animal derived substances, which was quite natural in terms of its ancient carnivorous background. So it would be attracted to left over meat scraps, to fat cuttings carved off beef and even to leftover pork chunks about which it seemed top have no dietary scruples. But the KM seems to have had a bad experience on some occasion with a mephitic skunk and had learned to be cautious about this repulsive animal, to the extent that on a second intrusion into Mrs. X's front yard, it apparently confused the family's black and while furry cat with Mephitis Mephitis, and fled without its customary chunk of beef suet.

What were the favorite foods of the beasts, the inquisitve Mrs. Dottie X. asked Dr. Schlange? Well, he replied cautiously, I think that anything you leave from dinner or a party on your front porch could be inviting, but I think that relics of a pizza dinner, with its flavorful topping of animal-based cheese, on which there were traces of related animal substances like sausage, along with anchovies representing the vast sea-world, and also additional fragments of aged cheese which had assumed a liquid camembert attitude under the heat of the sun - - - all these might be a good inducement fro the KD to get in the habit of a regular visit each night just as evening was falling.

"Yes", the good Dr Schlange added, "Yes, he could be attracted by those things too. I think your husband's notion is quite definitely within our ball park. I believe that the KD could be also much interested to the aura and flavor of sausage, to pepperoni and, of course, to the ever-attractive flavor of fresh baloney.

William Harris
Prof. Em. Middlebury College