Do Raccoons Hibernate?

If you have ever had to deal with raccoons in the wintertime, you may be wondering why they aren’t hibernating like many other animals do during the cold months. While raccoons are genetically wired to sense impending cold weather and prepare for it, they don’t traditionally hibernate like other animals.

What Raccoons Do to Prepare for Winter

Since raccoons are wired to sense impending cold, they will start to prepare to endure it. Before the winter months, eating increases to develop more body fat. This means a raccoon can almost double its size in preparation for winter. When they become less active in the winter, they can lose around 15% of their body fat. Raccoons will also start to look for warm areas to use as dens. Raccoons start mating in mid-January, and with the typical gestation period of 65 days, this means that raccoons will be nursing baby raccoons during cold winter months, so they need to find a suitable den spot. This could mean that they take up home in your attic or garage because they are generally safe and warm areas.

What Raccoons Actually Do in Winter

Raccoons will enter a state called torpor, which can mimic hibernation. During this time, the raccoon will rely on its stored body fat to survive but will still venture out to find food. It’s the stints of activity that are a threat to your property and make it so raccoons aren’t true hibernators. Raccoons can eat almost anything, including garbage, birds, and small mammals.

What to Do About Raccoons in Your Home

Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding raccoons. You should be raccoon proofing your home prior to winter. If you already have a raccoon problem, then a raccoon removal service can help make sure that raccoons are not damaging your home during the winter months.