Raccoons do not hibernate. Raccoons are active year round, and cold weather could drive them to seek shelter in your house. 

When the weather gets frigid, they do enter a a dormacy state called torpor. During this time, raccoons slow their metabolism and, in their dens, fall asleep with their tails wrapped around them for warmth. Unlike hibernation, it only lasts a few weeks.

Raccoons in the Winter

Raccoons have thick coats, nimble hands, and clever minds. They are resourceful and quickly adapt to all styles of living, including in urban areas. They must prepare for seasonal changes, especially in winter when it is not easy to scavenge for food. While some animals prepare to hibernate for the winter, raccoons prepare for torpor, a semi-hibernation.

An animal that hibernates has an internal trigger called the hibernation induction trigger that is activated by environmental changes. For example, fewer daylight hours and temperatures dropping. When winter arrives, animals enter hibernation, a sleeping period that can last for months. During this time, the animal does not eat or eliminate waste.

Raccoons do not have a hibernation induction trigger but can enter torpor, a dormancy stage. Unlike hibernation, it only lasts a few weeks. During this time, raccoons slow their metabolism and, in their dens, fall asleep with their tails wrapped around them for warmth.

Raccoon Activity During the Winter

Torpor typically occurs when temperatures fall below 15 degrees. Other times raccoons are actively searching for food. Because they don’t store food, they must rely on whatever they can find daily. As omnivores, they have many more options than some wildlife. You may even see a raccoon out during the day searching for food before the temperatures drop too low.

Omnivores will eat just about anything. Raccoons eat bugs, nuts, fruits, vegetables, small rodents, human garbage, pet feed, fish, bird eggs, and more. Before winter, raccoons eat as much as possible to build an extra layer of fat on their bodies and tails. Raccoons are not afraid to enter your home through pet doors if they smell food.

Most raccoons like to be alone, but in colder climates, they may choose to den with other raccoons. This may be one reason raccoon mating season usually occurs from January to March.

Where Do Raccoons Live During the Winter?

When not eating, raccoons must secure a den for the winter. Most often, raccoons choose hollow spaces in trees, brush piles, rock crevices, and fallen logs. Raccoons are lazy, and rather than building their den, they are likelier to steal shelter from another animal.

Raccoons are well-known for creating a warm den inside your home. They prefer attics, porches, sheds, crawlspaces, and chimneys. Raccoons are avid climbers and can sneak into your home through small spaces, like broken screens or windows.

Once they choose a den, raccoons will make it warmer by filling it in with leaves, twigs, bark, garbage, and anything else they can find.

Raccoon in Your House 

Raccoons living in your house will rummage through your items in search of food or den materials. Suppose they are in your attic. If they can access personal, sentimental treasures, they will. Expect damage to insulation, drywall, wood beams, and pipes. They may damage wiring and create fire hazards by plugging pipes and ducts.

Raccoons create a toilet area, a latrine where they leave feces and urine. It can form a big pile in a short time. As it piles up, the waste runs down floorboards and seeps into your living spaces below. Stains on your ceilings and walls are noticeable, and a foul odor is present.

Signs of Raccoon Activity in the Winter

Don’t wait until winter to check for signs of raccoons. They occur all year, and the sooner you get rid of a raccoon, the better. Raccoons do things that not all animals do, like tipping over garbage cans and scattering trash. Other signs include damaged gutters, fencing, porches, and entry doors to crawlspaces, basements, and attics.

You may notice tracks or footprints around your home, missing chickens from your coop, missing crops from a garden, and holes in your lawn. Raccoons are not quiet animals. Audible signs include stomping and shuffling, like how humans walk. Raccoons make noises that are sometimes mistaken for other wildlife. For example, they screech like an owl, bark, growl like a dog, hiss like a cat, and chirp like a bird.

What to Do About a Raccoon in Your Home

It is never a good idea to try and remove a raccoon yourself. They are known carriers of diseases, including rabies. If they feel threatened, they are likely to attack. They carry bacteria that can lead to salmonella poisoning. Plus, they are filthy, greasy animals that can host a variety of ticks, fleas, and other insects.

Calling a professional wildlife control operator is the best solution. They have safe and humane traps, snare poles, and protective gear. They know the regulations, and if your county wants to test for diseases, they know where to take them. Wildlife experts also know how to relocate newborns with their mothers after removal.

Using a three-step process of inspection, removal, and repairs, you can have confidence that your raccoon problem is resolved. In addition, professionals implement exclusions to prevent future raccoon troubles. But you don’t have to wait until after a raccoon invasion to start prevention methods. Our technicians are happy to help you secure your home now.

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Customer Reviews

Kirk D.
It has been very effective at reducing the number of mice, lizard, and snake sightings. During one visit Edgar removed a rattlesnake he came across. We may see a snake maybe two to three times during the spring and summer months, but it has been far less than before.

Serivces: Wildlife & Rodent Control in San Diego
Robert B.
Full service. Excellent job of extracting raccoon, cleaning all animal waste, sanitizing, and spraying anti-parasitic substance. They closed all potential ports of entry, though the work did not match the vinyl, and it looks kind of tacky. They added blown insulation, which added a lot to the cost. They provide a one year warranty against animal intrusion, with an option to extend the warranty at the end of each one- year period. They were willing to work with me one the price. I will probably extend my warranty, and will definitely use them it the future.
Gene F.
I was really impressed by these guys. Got a call within a few hours of making an inquiry. Had a rep out to inspect the situation by the end of the week, and when they laid out the timeline they kept if not exceeded listed times.

Rob, Travis, and Jim were all professional, polite, and courteous and after months of hearing squirrels in my ceiling they are gone and the repair to my flashing looks excellent. Can't recommend these guys enough.
Bob I.

Jeff was incredibly professional and helpful. I'll use them again and would recommend them to anyone.
-Detroit, MI
Richard L.

Critter Control did a great job of evaluating our house for sites of entry after we found bats and a squirrel in our attic. They completed their work promptly and professionally.
-Seattle, WA
Kenneth H.
We heard some noise from the corner of our house. Concerned that it could be inside we called for an inspection. Jessy arrived as scheduled and conducted a complete inspection of our home. Based on a recording we made he determined we had a tree frog on our roof. I was pleased that we didn’t have any rodent in our house. And his inspection could a few spots I can tighten up around my house. I am very happy with the outcome.
-New Hampshire
Lee F.
We have a vacation home in Western Mass and haven’t been there much during the pandemic as we live and work in Atlanta, GA. On our most recent visit we noticed that we had some rodent intrusion as well as some un-welcomed wildlife who decided to make our vacation home their home.

We contacted Critter Control and Mr. Cahoon was quick to set up an appointment as we wouldn’t be in town very long. He came out and assessed our issues. He informed us of our options to both eradicate and control future intrusions. Keeping in mind that wildlife is wildlife! He quickly got to work eradicating the rodents and wildlife from our home and addressing the intrusion issues. We feel much better leaving our vacation home for periods at a time knowing that Mr. Cahoon and Critter Control did their job and did it right! Thanks again!
Mary L.
We bought an old cabin last spring , it was used for years as a summer vacation cabin, therefore maintenance wasn’t a priority. After our project to remodel started, we found evidence of mice droppings.

We immediately called Critter Control and they came and gave us a reasonable estimate to remove all remnants and insulation. They sanitized and replaced with new insulation and sealing up points of entry .

Seeing their professional work made us feel confident and secure that the problem was solved ! Everyone we worked with continued to show professional and respectful work. Highly recommend this company! We continue to use critter control monthly to be sure we are mice and bug free!


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