Some pest control operators in Fredericton are saying this is the busiest spring they've had for calls from homeowners in years.
Greg Ricker of Excel Pest Control and his crews have been busy ridding homes of raccoons and squirrels.
"Really busy year this year, with raccoon and squirrel calls — way more than the years that have gone past," said Ricker.
"In the last three days we've taken away six raccoons. Today, we're working on four homes for squirrels. And it's just like an explosion of wild animals."
At another home, Ricker's crew removed insulation from a home after clearing out a family of raccoons — a $4,000 to $5,000 job.
"What happened here is our raccoon friends have come up on the deck, up on the fencing, and swung themselves up, went up the styrofoam, swung themselves up there, ripped the easement board off, and entered into the attic for the winter," said Ricker.
"We took four good-sized raccoons and it took us about two months to get them all," he said. "They were real stinkers."
Biologist Jonathan Cormier says raccoons don't need much of an opening to enter a home.
"They have a small head, but it looks like they have a very large body," he said. "But as long as they can fit their head through a crack, they can fit their body. They can flatten their body out and slither through a crack."
Cormier says the apparent increase in the number of raccoons and squirrels this spring could be a natural population peak, or related to the weather.
"It's possible the raccoons and squirrels are at their peak in their population cycle right now, which would lead to more animals looking for nesting or denning sites," he said.
"As well, as everyone knows, we had a long, cold spring this year and the raccoons and squirrels are looking for warm places to nest and have their young, which would be in the attics of homes as opposed to natural denning sites in tree trunks or whatnot."
The raccoons and other animals captured by pest control operators are euthanized.