Rodents take over home while family flees wildfires

After fleeing their home due to wildfires, a single mother and her two young sons returned to find much of their clothing, bedding and food destroyed by pack rats.

'When we got home it was just absolutely trashed by pack rats'

Chelsea Trill says rats moved items around and ate any food not in cans. (Chelsea Trill/Facebook)

A single mother living near Clinton, B.C., thought her summer was bad enough when she fled her ranch with her two young sons and nearly 50 animals in order to avoid encroaching wildfires.

Chelsea Trill relocated with her family and animals to Abbotsford in early July, where they spent about 45 days with family friends. 

Trill explained to Radio West host Sarah Penton that when she recently opened the door to her house, she originally thought squatters had moved in while her family was away.

Pack rats destroyed bedding while a Clinton-area family evacuated their home due to wildfires. (Chelsea Trill/Facebook)
However, she soon realized all of the doors were still locked and there were visible signs of rodents.

"I thought someone had broken in and trashed the place when we were gone," explained Trill.

She says toys were moved, food and bedding chewed, and there were rodent droppings and urine everywhere.

"It was just unprotected for the 45 days we were gone, and they just went wild."

Trill says she dealt with pack rats, a type of rat that is native to Canada, at the beginning of the gardening season. The rodents would eat her small plants if she left them outside overnight. 

However, her dogs and cats had chased the pack rats off, so she and her boys were relatively unbothered by the rodents.

While a Clinton-area family fled wildfires, their home was overrun by pack rats. ( Chelsea Trill/Facebook)

Unfortunately, when the dogs and cats left with the family, the home was left unprotected and the pack rats moved in.

The family threw out baby items, clothing, bedding and food that wasn't canned before disinfecting all household surfaces.

The Red Cross provided the family with a large amount of cleaning supplies.

Trill says that since they live minimally she guesses the net losses are around $500. 

She plans to make changes and do things differently if they are ever forced to evacuate again.

With files from Radio West.