Do raccoons hibernate during winter?

Contrary to some popular beliefs, raccoons do not hibernate during extreme weather conditions, however, they can hibernate in dens and some closed environments for several weeks where they use up stored body fats. Raccoons are known to eat varieties of food, and then store up layers of fat that act as insulator to their bodies during winter seasons. Raccoons may still stay active during the winter period when most people believe, they hibernate to stay warm.

Raccoons are very skillful, they can swim and even climb the bark of trees very fast. Raccoons are also fond of bounding up trees, and whenever they are threatened, they can jump from trees as high as 30 feet above the ground. Raccoons can hunt for fish in shallow waters, and they usually prefer habitats located around ponds, marshes and streams. Raccoons will often prefer meals comprising of flesh and sweet corn, and they eat much of these.

Raccoons are always active all year round, and they may cover between 3 and 5 miles during the nights of fall seasons, and may consume up to 5 pounds of food to store up body fat. Though they do not fully hibernate in winter season, but they are not as active as during the summer seasons. The raccoon may hibernate temporarily in a den for few hours. The relocation of raccoons from their den often proof abortive as the animals do not stay where they are relocated to.

Raccoon are often affected by several diseases, and these diseases may also be responsible for their inability to hibernate for a long time. Leptospirosis is one of the diseases that has been detected in raccoons and they can transmit the disease to humans through biting. Rabies has also been found to be rampant among raccoons especially in the southern and eastern regions of the United States of America and they can spread these diseases mostly during the summer period when they are most active.

During the non-hibernating periods, parasites such as mites, flatworms, roundworms, and tapeworms have been found to carry diseases in raccoons. They can transfer these diseases to pets such as cats and dogs when they bite them.

Raccoons may not be fully hibernating animals because of their restless nature, however, their abilities to store body fat before the winter season makes it possible for them to stay more in their den, and hunt less for foods, they are however susceptible to predator attacks during winter periods than summer times.

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