Where Do Raccoons Live In The Winter

Where Do Raccoons Sleep? Where Do Raccoons Go During the Day?

Raccoons normally prefer living in wooded areas so that as soon as they feel any danger, they may climb up the trees. Therefore, open terrain is not one of their favorite places to thrive. During winter, they seek warm shelters and spend most of their time in their dens, going into a deep sleep (called Torpor), which is not true hibernation. Because raccoons are rarely visible in daylight, this makes most of us to wonder where do raccoons go during the day or perhaps more importantly, where do raccoons sleep or nest?

Since raccoons are nocturnal mammals, they are mostly active after dawn and dusk. Even though they spend most of their daytime in sleeping, some female raccoons may occasionally come out during the day in search of more food.

Where Do Raccoons Live During the Day? Where Do Raccoons Sleep and Nest?

As far as raccoon habitat his concerned, this mammal usually occupies both mixed and deciduous forests. However, raccoons are highly adaptable mammals and they can adjust to almost any kind of environment. This explains why these animals are now present over an extensive range like in coastal marshes, mountains and urban settlements.

You will often find a sleeping raccoon within cracks of old trees. This is because hollows within old oaks and under the rocks are some of the preferred places where raccoons go during the day and sleep. They also use these old trees and rock crevices for winter denning. If a raccoon cannot find a place to den, it may use dense vegetation and burrows of other animals. Thus forests, woody plants and shrubbery are the places where raccoons go during the day.

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Some of the common places where raccoons sleep and nest are rock clefts, small spaces under decks, homes or buildings that are no longer in use, barns, woods and abandoned nests and burrows of other animals (like squirrels). As weather becomes more pleasant and less harsh, these mammals mostly sleep on tree forks. In warmer days, they find it convenient to sleep on open shelters.

As winter sets in, raccoons seek out warm and cozy places for sleeping and denning. This is why they usually find their way into the attics, garage, walls because they are perfect winter denning sites for them. As a result, you will often spot a raccoon rummaging through trash cans in your backyard, garage or crawl spaces under the deck.

Where Do Raccoons Nest?

Normally, raccoons like to use dens or burrows of other animals. Due to their adaptable nature, they do not find it hard to settle in burrows or holes dug by other animals. For that reason, you will often see a raccoon using holes for denning as well as nesting purposes. Generally, however, they nest in hollows of old oak trees and take up spring or summer residence on ground. To avoid harsh cold winter, they may occasionally share their dens with other animals, like skunks.

Do Raccoons Live in Trees?

Raccoons mostly occur in places where vertical structures are abundant. For a raccoon, climbing up trees is a piece of cake since they are one of the best climbers. They can quickly climb up trees to make dens inside abandoned hollows or tree crotches. These animals prefer living in trees that have long branches. Actually, a mother raccoon will often live in a tree hole high enough to avoid predators and raise her young out of harm’s way. Moreover, one of the benefits for living on treetops is that it would be quite convenient for raccoon to attack the prey from above. Thus, trees provide them shelter as well as place to hide from predators.

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Where do raccoons live in winter ?

Wiki User
October 19, 2015 9:09PM

Raccoons do not hibernate in winter but stay in their home range

and take shelter in dens or hollow trees. They are active all

winter except for during severe weather when they stay in their


How Do Raccoons Adapt During Winter?

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Freezing temperatures and scarce food make winter a challenging time for most animals in the wild. Raccoons combat these challenges through a series of physical and behavioral adaptations that keep them fed and warm through the cold months. Their extremely adaptable behavior makes them well suited to challenging climates.

Opportunistic Diet

Raccoons are omnivores, gaining nutrients from plants, animals, eggs, insects and human items such as food from garbage cans and small livestock. This ability to use any food source serves these animals well in the winter when many types of food are scarce. They typically make up their winter diets with acorns, corn, fruit, insects, crippled waterfowl and small animals, although they will take advantage of any local food source that presents itself.

Building Fat Stores

Raccoons also combat starvation in the winter by building up fat stores in the summer and autumn months. Over the course of the winter, a raccoon may lose between 14 and 50 percent of his body weight depending on how far north he lives and the severity of the winter, making those extra pounds from summer essential to his survival. The fat builds mostly heavily in the tail, which may help the raccoon stay warm by wrapping it around himself in the cold.

Warm Dens

Raccoons also seek out warm dens in the winter to help protect them from the elements. They most commonly seek out hollow trees, but are opportunistic about other options. Raccoons have been known to take over the underground burrows of other animals, use caves or make dens in abandoned buildings to keep warm. They sometimes den with other raccoons as well to take advantage of the mutual body heat, especially in severe winters.

Entering Torpor

Much like some animals go into hibernation, raccoons will enter a state known as torpor in the winter. While this is not true hibernation, the raccoon can sleep in a curled position in his den for weeks, significantly lowering the amount of energy he needs to survive. His body temperature lowers and increased insulin production decreases his blood sugar. On warmer days, the raccoon will wake up and spend some time foraging for food before returning to his den. This gives the small mammal many of the benefits of hibernation, while still keeping him alert to predators and potential food sources. Torpor will last longer for raccoons in colder climates, while those in warmer southern climes may never enter the state.

Thick Winter Coat

In addition to increased fat stores, raccoons grow a thicker coat of fur to help insulate them in the winter. The fur traps body heat close to the skin and helps keep them warm both in their dens and outside. The animals in colder climates will grow thicker coats in proportion to the severity of the winter. The combination of physical adaptations and behavioral changes help raccoons prosper even in harsh winter months.


Raccoons in Winter: What do they do?

What do raccoons do in the winter? More importantly, do you have to worry about them?

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You may already know that the cold weather could drive rodents like mice, rats and squirrels into your home this season. But what about other mammals? Do you have to worry about raccoons in winter?

Unfortunately, it is possible. Take a look at the following information about raccoons so you can better understand why they might sneak into your attic or crawl space during colder months. Then find out what you can do if the problem arises.

What Do Raccoons Eat?

Raccoons are omnivores, meaning they eat other animals, insects and vegetation. However, their meal of choice is going to depend on where they live. For example, raccoons that live near the water may snag crawfish or frogs from streams and creeks. These mammals may also steal eggs from birds’ nests or sniff out insects or mice. And urban raccoons are definitely not above rummaging through your trash can or eating any pet food you might keep outside. To put it simply, raccoons will take whatever they can get.

Where Do Raccoons Live?

As these masked critters can make a meal out of anything, you can pretty much find them everywhere in the United States, with the exception of Alaska.

Regardless of the region of the U.S. where they reside, raccoons live in dens. They’re opportunistic when it comes to denning and can make a home out of fallen tree trunks, holes in trees or burrows that other animals have abandoned. They tend to prefer living near water, but it’s also not uncommon to find raccoons in attics or crawl spaces.

And it’s a good thing that raccoons aren’t too picky when it comes to housing, as they tend to switch dens every few days. Nursing females, however, may stay put until baby raccoons — called “kits” — are old enough to be moved. While raccoons do bounce from den to den, they still keep to a set territory. This is called a “home range,” and it usually spans anywhere from one to 18 miles.

Do I Have to Worry About Raccoons in Winter?

Raccoons are not true hibernators, meaning they do stay active year-round. That being said, you may see fewer raccoons in winter. This is because some raccoons, especially those in more northern states, may store up body fat in the spring and summer so they can spend most of the winter sleeping in their dens. In the winter months, they’ll sleep several weeks at a time, and it is possible to find several raccoons sharing a single den.

Since these masked mammals are less inclined to change dens when it’s cold out, it’s possible you may have a group — called a “gaze”— of raccoons in the attic in the winter.

How to Help Get Rid of Raccoons

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these mammals are the most frequent carriers of rabies among wild animals. That means you definitely don’t want a gaze of raccoons in the attic this winter. Signs that raccoons have denned in or around your home include tracks or smudge marks on walls, decks or in soft ground near pipes and gutters. You may also see small piles of droppings near trees or on your roof.

If you do think you have raccoons in the attic, crawl space or anywhere around your home, you should call a wildlife removal service. Raccoons can be aggressive, especially if cornered, and their droppings can contain parasites that are dangerous to people, so you should never touch them. Because of these factors, leave it to a trained technician to help you figure out how to get rid of raccoons.

Can I Help Prevent Raccoons in Winter?

There are some steps you can take to make your home less attractive to raccoons in winter, though they may still find their way inside.

  • Examine the exterior of your home to make sure there aren’t any openings through which raccoons could gain entry to your attic or crawl spaces. If there are, patch them up. Tip: Raccoons can fit through a hole about the size of softball.
  • Rather than letting your summer or fall garden go to seed, clear it out and throw away any dead vegetation. Homeowners who compost may want to consider using a bin with a lid that can be sealed.
  • Make sure your trash can lids are sealed tightly so that raccoons can’t use your garbage as a food source.
  • If you keep chickens, house them in a coop in which they can be locked at night. Also, secure your coop with wire mesh rather than chicken wire, which raccoons can tear through.
  • Don’t leave pet food or water outside at night. Raccoons are nocturnal and will happily munch on kibble if it’s available.
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Although raccoons may be characterized as adorable bandits and ninjas in cartoons, they are wild animals that can carry pathogens that spread diseases. If you think you have raccoons in your attic or crawl spaces, contact a professional who can assess the situation and work with you to customize a removal and control plan.

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Control Yard Invasions: Gophers, Moles, and Voles

Any homeowner with a yard runs the risk of having their lawn terrorized by burrowing animals. Gophers and moles are animals that can cause extensive damage to a yard by digging complex networks of tunnels below ground. While these pests are most likely to be active in the spring and summer when the soil is most malleable, they remain active in the winter by burrowing even further into the ground to escape the colder temperatures. Voles can also cause lawn damage with their runways. Though it may be hard to tell these pests apart, knowing what each animal looks like and how they cause damage can help you practice the best gopher, mole and vole control methods and protect your home’s yard.

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