As temperatures warm, critters seek refuge in homes

OZAUKEE CO. (WITI) -- After Monday's expected snowfall, we're in for a bit of a warm up, with forecasted temperatures Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the high 30s. As it warms up this week, keep your ears open for any scurrying or scratching sounds in your home. Animals that sneak into homes for warmth will probably start moving around.

A lot of animals don't like the bitter cold any more than we do, and they will climb through a vent or down a chimney to get into a warm house. Experts say the longer they stay, the more damage they can cause.

"It's so cold even the animals don't want to be outside," P.J. Winkelmann said on Sunday, February 16th as he climbed into an attic to find two critters that clawed their way into an Ozaukee County home.

"We caught two raccoons in the attic so far. I'm expecting based on the size, there's gonna probably be at least two more up there," Winkelmann said.

The 30-pound raccoons are the seventh and eighth Advanced Wildlife Control caught on Sunday alone!

Throughout the winter, the company has trapped and released at least 100 raccoons.

"They're not a true hibernator. They're a semi hibernator.  So what they'll do is they'll get up in the attic and they'll just sit there.  And now that the temperature is gonna swing, especially this week, it's gonna get a little warmer and these raccoons are gonna start going outside a bit more," Winkelmann said.

Homeowner Barbara told FOX6 News she has been hearing sounds coming from the attic for weeks. She said the thought the raccoons would be trapped sooner - given the tempting food left in cages.

"He wasn't really thrilled with the marshmallows, or with the chicken legs. When we put the apples in that did it," Barbara said.

Winkelmann said in this case, the raccoons climbed up a rain gutter and through a vent.

He says it's not just house calls that kept Winkelmann busy.

"We've pulled raccoons out of engines of cars, garages, sheds, under decks, you name it," Winkelmann said.

Some words of advice: Keep an eye out for footprints in the snow around your home or on your roof -- and pay attention to the noises in your home. If you find raccoons or other critters, it is important to get them out now, before they start to reproduce.