Shivering wildlife invade city homes

Four-legged creatures seeking central heating and a free meal are invading Sarnia homes in droves this winter.

Squirrels, raccoons and skunks are among the most prevalent break-in artists, but feral cats, chipmunks and even opossums are appearing frequently on the wrong side of the door.

The coldest winter in 30 years and months of continuous snow cover have been hard on wildlife, experts say.

“The raccoons and squirrels are unbelievable right now. They’re breaking in all over trying to get warm,” said Ted Foreman, a professional animal trapper.

Marauding skunks appeared in February when a brief thaw caused flash flooding to freeze under the snow, creating an ice barrier for burrowing animals.

“Many of them got flooded out or they drowned,” Foreman said.

Sarnia homes are a regular stop each week on the southwestern Ontario circuit of Ted’s son Bob Foreman, of Bob’s Animal Removal.

The licensed trapper had a caged raccoon and skunk in his truck when The Journal tracked him down on Beverley Road, in the city’s north end.

“They’re all looking for some place to get warm,” he said. “It’s been really, really busy.”

Unless the animals are sick or injured Foreman releases animals he traps in bushlots, with permission from landowners.

“I have buddies all over the place,” he said.

– George Mathewson