Harsh Winter Has Wildlife Searching for Food

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STATELINE (WIFR) – We could soon see more wild animals in our backyards. Local experts say this harsh winter has creatures searching for food in our neighborhoods and much closer to our homes than we normally see.

The long cold winter and large piles of snow, may be making life harder for animals living out in the wilderness. They’re changing a little bit of their living patterns as they do what they can to try and survive.

“They burn a lot of calories during the winter time trying to stay warm so they need a lot of food, but with the deep snow, it’s hard for them to get around,” said Mike Groves with the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District.

Mike Groves is the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District’s natural resource manager and says deer are digging more deeply into the woods, preferring heavily wooded areas where the snow isn’t too high and the wind doesn’t get to them as much. However, the problem is, they may now find themselves surrounded by snow, makig it harder for them to come out and find food. When they do come out, they and other wild animals end up branching out into residential areas to find something to eat.

A perfect example is a rare sighting of a long tailed weasel who decided to break into a porch in search of food.

“They’re definitely coming up behind people’s houses and in their yards and stuff more, trying to get into their ornamental shrubs and bushes.”
Even though winter doesn’t seem to be leaving us anytime soon and animals tend to burn fat at an accelerated pace, experts say there should be no concern for animals starving anytime soon.

Experts say if you live next to the forest preserve or other wooded areas, you may see more deer coyotes, or other wildlife venture into your backyard looking for food. If you don’t want them to keep coming, don’t leave out food.

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