In some places, no matter how hard you try, a wild animal will get into your house. And I'm not talking about the run of the mill flies or ants. In January a family in Hailey, Idaho got the surprise of a lifetime when they discovered that a full-grown moose cow had managed to get into their basement in the middle of the night. It was apparently one of those things that go bump in the night.
In a strange twist of fate the moose had fallen into a window well of the house. The window had been left unlatched and the hapless animal just tumbled on through into the basement. She was none the worse for wear and the homeowner, Julie Emerick, said that the moose was "the most polite, gracious beast that you could have in your house." While she may feel that way, photos show a considerable amount of moose poop on the floor. The whole incident most likely scared the crap out of the creature. Literally.
After receiving a call at 2:20 a.m., sheriff's deputies, police officers, and officers from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game responded to the call for help. At first tried to just "shoo" the moose up the stairs and out of the house. When the animal would not cooperate with that plan and kept trying to charge them (she was probably confused beyond belief), they had to take a sterner approach. They shot the moose with a tranquilizer dart and waited until she had calmed down. Then they gave her an additional injection to keep her calm while they moved her.
The eight men grunted, groaned, and struggled, but they finally managed to get the 600 pounds of dead weight up the stairs and outside. Fifteen minutes later a groggy moose was able to get up on the snow-covered street and head out to more familiar environs. Wildlife officials in Idaho have stated that because of the heavy snowfall in the region wild animals have been forced into populated areas to search for food. Do not approach or try to feed these animals.
Emerick said that the moose caused almost no damage to the room, though my guess is that a good carpet cleaning might be in order. Thankfully this was not a full-grown bull moose or there would have been hell to pay. While this sounds like a very isolated incident, in 2015 a woman in the same small town in Idaho woke up to find an elk in her basement. This is all a far cry from when I leave my front door open on nice spring days and have squirrels come in asking for food -- apparently with the tacit blessing of my cat. She just sits and watches them. On the whole I prefer the squirrels. And not having a basement.
Photos by Idaho Fish and Game, Images via BBC