Image of a Rodent

Hibernation Habits

When the chill of winter hits, many animals enter a period of rest called hibernation. People dealing with rodent problems often wonder if these pests do as well. Certain types of rodents do hibernate, including some species of these animals:

When Do Rodents Hibernate?

Like other animals, rodents hibernate during winter. The specific length depends on the species, as dormancy can span from five to eight months.

Rodent hibernation usually starts in late September or October and ends between March and May.

Prairie Dogs

White-tailed prairie dogs are hibernating rodents. Black-tailed prairie dogs are never fully dormant, as they emerge from cover to find food on warmer days. Prairie dog activity can disturb gardens, and the pests may carry fleas.

Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels are also hibernating rodents. The young of certain species, like the California ground squirrel, might remain somewhat active in regions that aren't as cold.

On the other hand, Richardson's ground squirrels hibernate most of the year. Ground squirrels burrow in lawns, harm plants, and spread disease.


The hibernation period for chipmunks is more variable than other rodents. They rely on stored food to get them through the winter. Chipmunks tear up yards and gardens and may attempt to get into homes for shelter.

Meadow Jumping Mice

These hibernating rodents survive on stored fat during periods of inactivity. If they haven't eaten enough, they will die or attempt to emerge from hibernation sooner. The pests often feed on grain or garden crops.

Hibernating Rodent Problems

Rodents that do hibernate dig burrows in lawns to wait out the winter. In most cases, the pests continue to cause issues in the spring.

While prevention methods help, sometimes homeowners need extra assistance. Critter Control pest specialists have the expertise needed to deal with any concerns caused by rodents that hibernate.

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