Do Raccoons Hibernate?

By | December 27, 2017

Are Raccoons Active in Winter?

This is a question we occasionally get and the answer is a definite “Yes”!

Raccoons do not hibernate.  They are active all winter here in Northeast Ohio, though they limit their activities based on the weather and food availability.raccoon inspection stark county ohio

The picture to the right shows what raccoons do during the coldest days:  they slumber (often together) in protected spots and conserve energy as best as possible.  This picture was taken during an inspection of a roof space.

At night, if it is relatively mild, these raccoons will be on the move finding food.  It is a combination of stored fat, insulating fur, good shelter, and group sleeping that gets them through the harsh winter weather.

Raccoon removal winterThis does not mean that these raccoons go out everyday.  During snaps of bitterly cold weather like we’ve had recently, the raccoons will stay protected and resting.  They will stay “holed up” for many days at a time.

But, if food is easily available raccoons will go out and get it.  It seems if raccoons can get to food easily and take in more calories than they expend staying in one spot, they have no problems going out.

Here is a picture of a raccoon our game camera snapped on a home’s roof on a bitter January night.  The weather didn’t seem to deter this raccoons movement because there was plenty of food nearby.

Denning Raccoons Can be Noisy

Homeowners with winter raccoons denning in their homes will attest to the fact that the raccoons don’t just sleep peacefully.  In fact, these groups of raccoons are known to be quite noisy.

Imagine sitting in your living room or just trying to get to sleep at night when you you hear some hissing, shrieking, and growling sounds.  It can be really disconcerting, as homeowners have attested.  What is going on when this happens?

What we believe is happening is that the social fabric of the raccoon world is being played out in close quarters:  and, it is not a silent process!   The raccoons are having disagreements as they jockey for warmth and comfortable positioning in the pile.  Or maybe they just get some sort of “cabin fever” if they are stuck inside for too many days because of the weather.

Whatever the reasons, raccoons that have found denning spaces in the fireplace, soffits, attics, or walls of someone’s home are very noisy at times and a nuisance.

Raccoon Mating Season Approaches

If not food, what else would get raccoons out and about on cold winter nights?  You guessed it, mating season.

Most mating among Ohio raccoons occurs in February and March.  As the days lengthen (despite the cold) male raccoons sense the breeding season is just around the corner.  When hormones dictate their activity, it seems they don’t mind the weather so much.

Biologists agree that breeding season can begin as early as late January here in Ohio. So even now, the male raccoons are starting to undergo the hormonal changes that dictates the breeding season.

Scouting forays to locate nearby females are common and account for some of the raccoon activity we are called to help solve this time of year.

Akron, Canton, Kent OH  | Raccoon Control and Removal

If you believe there are raccoons freeloading in your home this winter, give us a call.

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Their signs can be intermittent as the weather changes but sooner rather later, they will be as active as you might expect.

For more on raccoons and raccoon removal here in the Canton, Akron, Kent area take a look at our other pages: