Uptick in squirrel, rabbit populations seen across New England

LINCOLN, Mass. - If you've noticed more squirrels and bunnies frolicking around New England than usual, you're not alone.

The little critters have been invading the area recently, and experts say weather is in part to blame.

"We see quite a few squirrels here," said Robert Goodale. "There were a little bit more this year than we've had."

According to the City of Boston's animal control, so far this year they've responded to 53 calls for cottontail rabbits, compared to the 12 calls they responded to in 2013.

Jeff Collins of the Mass Audubon Society, says there are several reasons why we have been seeing more of these animals lately.

"We've had a mast year, and mast is a term that describes the fruiting material, the seeds and nuts of trees," said Collins. "The squirrels are responding to that, they were very happy last year, [so] they produced a lot of young and we're seeing those young this year."

A warm spring can produce more acorns and tree nuts, which in turn becomes food for squirrels and rabbits to feed off of.

The rabbit population is also increasing due to changes to the population of their predators.

Coyotes are steering away red foxes, and they prey on rabbits and squirrels.

Rabbits are popping up everywhere, you might find them in your backyard or garden. They're usually seen early in the day or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler.

Farmers are also having issues with rabbits and squirrels destroying their crops. Sometimes, squirrels can even get into your home. If that happens, the best thing to do it not to try and trap them in the house but rather call an expert and have them removed.

As temperatures start to drop, we won't be seeing as many squirrels or rabbits out in nature as they'll start preparing for hibernation.