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Hurricane Isaac brings wildlife to doorsteps of parish residents

Jonathan Menard -   Sep 13, 2012

This baby squirrel fell out of a tree in Des Allemands and was cared for by Thelezia Folse.
This baby squirrel fell out of a tree in Des Allemands and was cared for by Thelezia Folse.

Residents in flooded areas of the parish got up close and personal with local wildlife after Hurricane Isaac made its way through St. Charles.

And some got more enjoyment from those encounters than others.

Allison Prendergast, who lives in Willowridge, was surprised by snakes in her yard.

"Primarily weíve had snakes - by the back door and by our front door," she said. "My husband also saw a deer right behind the house and weíve also been hearing dogs or coyotes now in the woods behind the house.

"Iím sure the water/surge has pushed them all closer to neighborhoods as they are looking for dry ground."

Herald-Guide photographer Thelezia Folse found a baby squirrel in her yard.

"I found it by the garage and he must have been knocked out and dazed because I was able to pet him and touch him," Folse said.

Folse put the squirrel in a box and was bringing him to a friendís home when the dazed squirrel attacked.

"I put my hand in the box to pet him and he just went crazy," she said. "I turned the car around, brought him back to my house and made him a little nest in the box."

Folse then fed the squirrel by peeling peanuts for him.

"He was letting me feed him but he kept hollering for his momma," she said. "The bigger squirrels were starting to come back and the next morning he was gone. I think his momma found him."

Folse said the storm also showed her the ingenuity of wildlife.

"Right before the hurricane came a friend and I were watching this squirrel go crazy building a nest in a tree. We were laughing because we thought it was doing all that work for nothing because the storm would knock it down," she said. "But that nest is still standing now. Next time I build a house, I am going to hire a squirrel to do it."

Angie Robert, director of Animal Control for the parish, said she hasnít received a lot of calls about wild animals approaching homes after the storm.

"We have taken in more baby squirrels and baby birds that fell out of trees, but overall it was pretty mild," she said.

Robert said there were some stray dogs wandering around the parish after the storm and reports of dogs that had been left behind by owners who evacuated.

"We checked out every report and some of the owners would say Ďmy neighbor is taking care of my animals,í" she said. "Unfortunately, thatís not illegal."

Robert said the hurricane also provided a nice test for how the new animal shelter can hold up during a hurricane.

"If we were in the old shelter, we would have had to evacuate," she said. "If it was a stronger storm this time we would have left, but I was quite impressed with how the new shelter did."

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