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Do raccoons hibernate?

Many creatures in the animal kingdom will hunker down someplace for the winter and hibernate during these cold months. Creatures who are quite diverse from one another, such as bears and bats, will spend these cold months in a place where they can stay out of the frigid temperatures and live off of the fat in their body and tell it is warm enough to begin their normal life processes again.

These two animals demonstrate that there is no real determining factor for what kind of animals will hibernate. A bat and a bear could not possibly be more different than one another, but both require a period of hibernation to be able to maintain normal life functions. This may make you wonder if raccoons hibernate?

The answer to that question is a little more complicated than you may think. Isn’t a simple yes or no answer to be able to explain the process by which a raccoon sleeps.

During the wintertime, it is true that a raccoon will sleep for longer periods of time. This can actually last for weeks while the animal stays nestled in the den or other area it has created to be able to rest during these winter months.

However, it is also quite likely that many times during this hibernation time the raccoon will awaken and can even stay awake for the remaining portion of the winter once it has arisen. There are also instances where raccoons did not hibernate whatsoever and stayed awake for the entire winter. So, what is affecting their hibernation cycle?

That’s a good question that scientists have not been able to accurately answer at this particular time. One possible answer to this is the fact that mating may play a role in whether these animals stay asleep during the hibernation time. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, meaning that most of their activities occur at night, but during the mating. They will be out in the daytime. They could be possible that during the winter months a raccoon can venture out to find its mate and bring her back to his den to begin the courtship and mating process.

Learn more: Do raccoons swim?

Many raccoons will even hibernate with one another in large groups, and so they may awaken simply for the mating process to occur within the den that they are hibernating in. Once awakened, it is quite common for them to stay awake even after mating has occurred.

Another potential factor that could wake one of these animals up is the amount of weight that it is lost during its hibernation. Most raccoons will lose up to 15 pounds during the winter months, but if they have lost more than 20 that it may be likely that they will awaken to try to regain some of the lost weight. Because it takes some time to rebuild the amount of fat that is lost, some of these animals will continue to stay awake to ensure that they reach the body weight that is needed and then will remain awake because it is warm enough by that point. Read more: Raccoon Control, how to get rid of raccoons, Raccoon Feces, How to get raccoons out of the ceiling.

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