Raccoons are opportunistic creatures that can be found in many different habitats. While they may be a nuisance for some homeowners, these animals are great natural pest control and keep rodent populations to a minimum. They are also a great way to keep your yard free from mosquitoes during the summertime.
In the wild, raccoons typically seek shelter in dens that provide warmth and protection from predators. These are often repurposed burrows or hollow areas of logs, rock crevices, and brush piles. However, in urban and suburban settings, raccoons will sometimes take refuge in attics, chimneys, sheds, barns, and even abandoned cars.
When the weather gets cold, raccoons will often enter a state of hibernation-like activity called torpor. This is a short-term state of lower body temperature and metabolic rate that helps them conserve energy and survive until springtime. During torpor, a raccoon will not be able to move or eat. They may even enter this state during the day, but will return to their normal habits at night.
During the winter, raccoons will also eat more in order to have fat stored to help them survive the season. They will often scavenge in urban areas, traveling through storm drains and dumpsters to find food scraps. They may spend more time in their dens as well, sleeping for extended periods and possibly not leaving for weeks at a time. If you suspect that a raccoon has taken up residence in your home, contact a professional to get rid of them.