Living with Wildlife


The recent news stories out of Duluth regarding the bear that was hibernating under a families’ porch all winter without them realizing it and the seagull who knocks on the door of a local hotel for a donut made me think of how we all coexist with wildlife and sometimes don’t even realize it until these animals end up at your front door. 

I have always had a love for animals and nature and hope to share this passion with my son. In the 19 months that he has been alive we have had a few wildlife experiences that I am sure we will not soon forget. 

The first actually occurred on the day we brought our baby home from the hospital. We were about to go to bed when my husband went to let the dogs in. All of a sudden he was yelling like crazy, “There is a snake in the house!” This is a huge problem for my husband because he is deathly afraid of snakes and being as I had just had a c-section 3 days ago, I was not going to be much help. In the end, he “saved” his new baby boy from the snake intruder and all was well.     

The next wildlife encounter was a few short months later. We were living at the lake, about 45 minutes north of Duluth, for the winter so my husband didn’t have to drive so far for work. There were not many people who lived up at the lake over the winter so it was very rare that we would see anyone for days at a time. J and I liked to go for walks with the dogs around the loop on nice days and had not seen much for wildlife except for a couple rabbits and a deer or two. One evening as I was making dinner I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye out on the lake. Looking closer I saw a few deer walking on the ice towards the opposite shore; I decided to grab the binoculars for a closer look. Soon they disappeared into the trees and I thought that was the end of it… a few minutes later I saw more movement and 6 wolves were walking on the ice towards the opposite shore, it looked like they may have come from our side of the point just a few houses down from our cabin! Needless to say we respected that we were in the wolves’ habitat and kept our dogs on the leash and close the remainder of the time we stayed at the lake and J and I didn’t venture to far from the cabin for our walks for the rest of the winter. 

Living with Wildlife | Duluth Moms Blog

The most recent wildlife encounter happened just before Christmas. I was walking back home from Stroller Strides at the Esko school — we only live a block from the school so it was way easier just to jog over versus driving. It was dark and if you have ever driven through the residential streets in Esko you know there are no streetlights. I was just about to walk into our driveway when a deer jumped out from by our mailbox and just missed landing in the stroller with the baby!  It scared the crap out of me and from that point on I made sure I had my headlamp for the dark walk home from the school.  Just the other night we watched about 14 deer walk through our yard and my son was in awe.

As winter melts into spring and more and more wildlife start to appear in our backyards remember they were here first. Teach your kids how important these animals are and how to respect them. 

Want to know more about the Wildlife in our area? Have you found or spotted an injured animal?  Here are a few great resources in the Twin Ports area!

Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation 

Minnesota DNR

Lake Superior Zoo

Do you have any great wildlife stories or photos you would like to share? Please post them in the comment section below! 

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Melainy Nickila
Hailing from the great state of North Dakota Melainy is new to the Duluth area and excited to explore all the great places and activities the Twin Ports area has to offer. Her Husband Ben, originally from Chisholm, 14 month old Jameson, and two 50lb English Setters have recently settled into small town living in Esko, MN and are eager to make their new house a home. As a first time mom, moving to a new town and a new state is chaotic and Melainy and her family are embracing the challenge, Follow her on Instagram @mmnickila and laugh at all of the hilarious 1st time mom adventures she encounters. Also follow her blog,