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
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.
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