Toronto raccoons, squirrels, critters enjoying spring baby boom, pest expert says

A mother raccoon had her babies in a cooler. Squirrels made a nest under a BMW’s hood. And according to one pest control expert, the critter baby boom is happening all across the city.

'The homeowner went out looking for a drink and there was a mother raccoon in the cooler with her babies'

A Toronto pest expert says critters all across the city are giving birth earlier than normal this year due to the mild winter. (CBC)

A mother raccoon had her babies in a cooler. Squirrels made a nest under a BMW's hood. And according to one pest control expert, the critter baby boom is happening all across the city.

Bill Dowd, of Skedaddle wildlife control, says the mild winter allowed squirrels, skunks, mice and other creatures to spend more time eating and more time mating.

Now, the creatures — many considered pests that can damage property — are giving birth earlier than normal, something that's left Dowd dealing with some wild situations.

A baby squirrel is pulled from its nest, discovered under the hood of a BMW. (Skedaddle Wildlife Control/Submitted)
"In over 27 years in business we've never had racoons give birth in a cooler," he told CBC News.

"The homeowner went out looking for a drink and there was a mother raccoon in the cooler with her babies."

Toronto's squirrels, who had gotten plenty plump during the fine fall weather, have also been looking for prime birthing spots.

Dowd said he was recently called in after a BMW's owners took it to the dealership when it wouldn't start.

"They opened up the hood and saw this huge nest and the mother squirrel popped out," he said.

While those spots are abnormal even for him, Dowd said it's a good idea to critter-proof your home where you can. He's seen raccoons make it down chimneys and break into bedrooms. He even had to deal with one that recently made it into a dental office.

So what should you do if you encounter a proud raccoon parent or one of their many offspring?

Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources says animals should stay within one kilometre of where they're found, something that can stop the spread of disease.

That's become especially important after several raccoons in Hamilton were found to have rabies, a disease that can make them incredibly dangerous to humans or pets. 

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