Do Raccoons Hibernate (Detailed Explanation)

Raccoons are intelligent and curious creatures. Winter is the period when some animals hibernate to conserve body energy.

Most of these animals experience drops in body temperature and slow heart rate. Besides that, winter tends to result in food shortages, and this forces these animals to sleep the whole period.

So, do raccoons hibernate? Not really. These creatures are pestiferous when it comes to hunting for food. They visit trash cans and dig up lawns.

However, an extremely cold climate forces raccoons to hunker down. It is the best time to track these animals since they tend to settle in dens.

The intelligence of these animals enables them to adapt to different habitats and climatic conditions. These nocturnal creatures will find ways to survive during winter.

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Do Raccoons Hibernate

How Do Raccoons Survive During Winter?

Many animals tend to find it difficult to survive during winter in the wilderness. However, raccoons can easily adapt to such condition through physical and behavioural changes.

These adaptations will enable them to survive and become well suited to the extremely cold weather conditions. These physical and behavioural adaptations include:

Opportunistic Diet

Raccoons eat almost everything. They get nutrients from plants, animals and human items. The omnivorous adaptation enables them to survive in the winter when there is a food shortage.

The animals will change their diet by feed more on fruits, insects and other small animals. That’s not all. They are able to take advantage of any local food sources.

Building Fat Stores

Raccoons are stockier animals. They develop a large fat layer during summer and autumn. This helps to combat starvation during the winter period.

The severity of the winter will determine how much the creature will lose pounds. The fat builds up normally occurs in the tail and this help them remain warm.

Warm Dens

Extreme cold weather conditions in the wilderness tend to force raccoons to seek warm dens like hollow trees. Sometimes, they tend to invade caves, underground burrows for other animals and even people’s homes.

Enter Torpor

Most animals hibernate during the winter but raccoons normally enter into a state known as torpor. It is a phenomenon where raccoons sleep in the dens for weeks to reduce energy loss.

However, the situation is quite common among those raccoons living in cold climates than those in warmer regions. Those species in warmer areas do not experience torpor state.

Thick Winter Coat

Raccoons have a thicker coat covered with fur which helps to insulate heat in winter. Besides that, the fur help to trap body heat for creation of warmth in the dens and outdoor.

Research shows that raccoons tend to grow a thicker coat in the winter than summer and autumn. It is the reason behind the high chances of survival during cold conditions.

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Where Do Raccoons Go in the Winter Time?

Raccoons have unique physical and behavioural adaptations for survival during the winter in the wild. These creatures tend to forage food despite the prevailing weather conditions.

However, raccoons usually undergo torpor state when the cold weather is too harsh. Some of the common areas where they hide are dens, caves, hollow trees, cloven rocks and underground burrows of other animals.

Mild winter condition makes the raccoons sleep in large forks on the ground. It helps them generate more warmth.

However, raccoons are nocturnal. Hence, they tend to be quite active during the night and sleep during the day time. Besides that, they do not have a specific place for sleeping.

How Do Raccoons Prepare For Winter?

Most animals have a high sense of winter. Some tend to seek shelter and build fat stores to help them survive in the winter.

Raccoons are no exception. They undergo several physical and behavioural adaptations to help them survive in the cold-weather climate.

Many species of raccoons grow thicker winter coat to trap body heat and keep them warm in the dens and also outside.

That’s not all. These creatures tend to eat a lot of food in the summer and autumn for body fat build-up. It helps to insulate the body against cold.

Besides that, raccoons enter a state of torpor which is quite similar to hibernation. The state helps the creatures to conserve body energy.

Lastly, these animals tend to seek warm hideouts like hollow trees, dens, caves and buildings. They normally share these dens with other raccoons to take advantage of the body heat.

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Conclusion

Raccoons do not hibernate in the winter. Instead, they undergo torpor state and this helps them to conserve energy.

These animals also experience physical and behavioural adaptations during cold weather conditions. It is the reason behind their survival during extremely cold weather.

So, do raccoons hibernate in the winter? The answer is no. The wild animals have a high sense of cold and they tend to prepare in advance.

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