Critter encounters: Wildlife also is living within the city

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Ted Sullivan
Sunday, November 28, 2010
— When people began moving to subdivisions near surrounding farmland, the inevitable happened: Wild critters became part of their neighborhoods.

Development on the edges of cities has brought people, deer and coyotes together. Sometimes, it’s an uncomfortable living arrangement.

Even in Janesville, the Rock River, creeks and household garbage provide animals with habitat. Often, creatures and residents are too close for comfort.

“We’re taking their environment away, yet at the same time, we’re providing their environment,” said Jim Hurley, Rock County Humane Society operations manager. “You’ve got a little twist there. What do you do?”

Two deer were recently put down after they were injured while trying to hop the fence at Rotary Botanical Gardens.

Monterey Mills has had a coyote inside its factory. It was caught and released into the wild. Possums also have become stuck in vehicle engines.

In one case, a raccoon got through the roof of a Janesville home off Center Avenue. The raccoon chewed through drywall and was discovered hanging from the ceiling in a closet.

“When you’ve got a wild raccoon coming out of the closet in your bedroom, you want someone there,” Hurley said. “Raccoons are not nice creatures to play with.”

Janesville Police Sgt. Craig Klementz said deer also have run through glass windows or doors in the city. He said cars have struck deer in neighborhoods. Several sick foxes also have been put down.

Coyotes have not been a problem in the city, but residents in rural subdivisions outside Janesville have heard them howling at night.

Gary Smith, interim executive director at Rotary Gardens, said deer have destroyed more than 100 trees on the property. He said turkeys wander around in search of nuts and fruit. Rabbits, woodchucks, foxes and muskrats also are around.

“We know they’re here. They’re going to live in an area like this,” Smith said. “We just plant enough so they eat what they need, but they don’t damage enough that the garden isn’t beautiful. We’re taking care of them.”

Hurley said humane societies rarely handle wildlife calls anymore, but the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Fellow Mortals wildlife rehabilitation center in Elkhorn rescue wildlife.

“We’re here for domestic animals, but every once in a while, we get wildlife,” he said.

Last updated: 3:22 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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