Do Raccoons Hibernate
Hibernation can be a truly fascinating thing. There are those creatures that’ll turn in at the beginning of winter and won’t wake up until late summer. There are those creatures that will only sleep halfway through winter. Heck, some creatures don’t even hibernate at all.
Some creatures will fatten themselves up for winter because they know that food is going to be scare, while others will continue with their normal hunting routines. Some even drop their body temperature and lower their breathing so that they consume fewer calories.
Truly fascinating stuff! However, the main reasoning behind hibernation is simple. It has to do with a lack of food. That’s it! Food just isn’t available for the creatures during the winter months so they sleep until it becomes available again.
That being said, the hibernation period along with the severity of the hibernation depends on the animal and its access to food. Climate as well as other factors might come into play, but it mainly has to do with food. So, where does all of this leave the raccoon? Does the raccoon hibernate?
Raccoons Adapting During The Winter
Interestingly enough, raccoons do not go into full hibernation. This doesn’t mean that they don’t hunker down and take it easy, but they don’t fully hibernate as some creatures do.
They are also one of those creatures that like to pack on the pounds before the winter arrives. They’ll literally eat everything and anything they can to fatten themselves up for the scarce months ahead.
It is during these times that raccoons can become a real problem for homeowners or residents. Due to the lack of food, the raccoon isn’t afraid to venture when he normally wouldn’t go. For instance, raccoons are always known for eating trash and getting in coolers, but they oftentimes won’t approach a residence or campsite in search of food.
Especially when the areas are occupied. This won’t be the case when they are hungry. During the winter months, if out and about they’ll get into garbage cans, coolers, and make a real mess of your trash in search of food.
This is why most people try to deal with raccoon-related problems before the winter hits. If there are raccoons on your property and the winter is approaching, you’ll likely want to get them eliminated as quickly as possible because they’ll come around looking for food during the winter.
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Raccoons And Hibernation Quarters
Most raccoons that are located in colder climates adapt by developing thicker layers. That’s right, their coat actually grows thicker. Combine this with their physical adjustments and behavioral changes and they have the real propensity to make it through those harsher winter months.
Most raccoons will usually fill out on oak seeds for the remainder of winter until fall comes back around if they can. However, this isn’t enough to sustain them properly because they’ll end up losing 50% of their body fat by the time hibernation is over.
As far as dens go, raccoons like to hibernate in clumps of trees. They will, however, make quick use of a ground tunnel or two if they come upon some that other creatures have dug. They by no means possess the skills to dig their own. Raccoons are also not known for lone hibernation.
If there is one around your property hibernating, you can rest assured that there are a few more lurking as well, you’ve just likely yet to spot them.
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Raccoon’s Sleeping Habits
You likely already know that raccoons are nocturnal creatures, meaning that they only come out at night or at the edge of dawn. This is when they will be their most active, which makes tracking them even harder for most humans because they are asleep during these hours.
However, if your home is located near a forest or a bushy area and you are dealing with a raccoon problem, you can just about guarantee that’s where they’ll be. They’ll be somewhere in that area during the day sleeping, so you might be able to track and eliminate them this way.
Capturing the exact location of a raccoon is never an easy task, even for the most skilled of hunters or exterminators. One of the reasons for this is because they simply don’t like to build their own dens, which affords them the ability to randomly move around.
They live to invade the dens that other animals have built. When it comes right down to it, the raccoon is a rather opportunistic creature and can adapt quickly in a variety of environments and situations.
Some key areas that you might want to look for sleeping raccoons are arched trees, caves, cloven rocks, burrows of other animals, abandoned nests, woodpiles, attics, crawlspaces, sheds, abandoned old cars or vehicles, abandoned buildings, and similar areas. They’ll sleep in elevated areas and they’ll sleep right on the ground.
They’re also not opposed to relocating every night and sleeping in a different location, which makes them even harder to track.
The raccoon has to make major behavioral changes in order to get through the winter. This much is probably already clear, but just to reiterate, they won’t actually fully sleep through the entire winter.
They’ll only sleep for extended periods when the weather is at its worst. They’ll also likely end up about half their size by the time winter comes to an end. As far as living quarters go, they’ll adapt and change when needed.
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It is the raccoon’s adaptability that makes him such a formidable creature. They not only eat both meats and plant matter, but they are adept hunters. They are equally skilled with their left and right paws and are not uncommonly known for snatching up small fish from rivers and streams. They are also extremely opportunistic eaters and sleepers.
Whatever they come across, they’ll make quick use of it if they can. Whether it be a potential meal or a potential residence, they’ll take advantage if the opportunity is there.
When it comes right down to it, there is no short answer for whether raccoons hibernate or not. You can see that they do a majority of the time, but it is more of a slumber than a hibernation. Whatever the situation is, their habits and behavior greatly rely on the surrounding climate and weather.
Depending on where you located in the world, it is entirely possible that you might see a raccoon out during the lat hours of the winter foraging.
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