Do Raccoons Migrate Or Hibernate [Facts and Information]

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Raccoons are lazy hunters; they prefer living near food sources. Winters are somewhat challenging for raccoons. Raccoons survive through the winters by adopting various physiological and behavioral changes. So the main question is; do raccoons migrate or hibernate?

Raccoons do not genuinely hibernate or migrate. They stay active all year, in every climatic condition. In cold surroundings like in northern areas, raccoons prefer to spend most of their time sleeping in the den. Spending time inside a den in winter cannot be called true hibernation.

Raccoons living in extreme weather conditions will store enough fat in their body to survive through the winters. They have excellent adapting capabilities and can adjust to new surroundings and environments. Read the complete article to learn more about the raccoons’ hiding period.

Raccoons migration and hibernation system

The Secret Of Raccoon Hibernation 


Raccoons stay inside their dens most of the winter. This state of laying down for weeks cannot be called hibernation. The raccoons do not hibernate but sleep through most of the winters. 

They can stay in dens during winter for days, but they will come out in search of food. Raccoons during summer, spring, and autumn are most active and will create a layer of fat on its body.

This fat will help it get through the winter without going out frequently for food. 

The mischievous activities of raccoons will remain the same throughout the year. Even in winter, it will break into your house for food. Raccoons can devour anything from pizza to chickens or insects.

Raccoons can hibernate inside your home as they will be more comfortable, and warm, and have easy access to food. 

Do Raccoons Hibernate In Winters? 


When the temperature decreases, raccoons hide inside their dens to stay warm, they will come out in search of food or use a latrine, but mostly they would prefer to sleep throughout the winter. Therefore, raccoons stay active in every climate all year.

Raccoons are lazy. They will build their nest near the ample food supply, so they do not have to move long distances in the cold to get food.

To keep themselves warm raccoons’, will be built inside trees, abandoned dens, chimneys, attics, or rooftops.

Raccoons are introverted and prefer living alone. However, you can find several raccoons snuggled together in one den during winter to keep themselves warm.

At What Temperature Do Raccoons Hibernate?

Raccoons hide inside their dens when the temperature falls below fifteen-degree Fahrenheit. They will spend this time sleeping inside the dens. Raccoons will come out once in several weeks for food. Therefore, they do not truly hibernate.

The hibernation period or sleeping period can extend up to months till the weather changes to spring.

Raccoons mainly rely on their stored body fat during harsh weather conditions. They are covered in multiple layers of fat to get them through the cold.

According to research: if raccoons do not come out often for food, they can lose up to fifty percent of their body fat during winters.

How Long Do Raccoons Hibernate?

As raccoons stay active throughout the year, they don’t undergo hibernation. However, when the temperature drops (below 15 degrees), they experience a state of dormancy called torpor for a few weeks. Raccoons reduce their metabolism during this period and curl up in their dens to sleep with their tails around them for warmth. Further, a raccoon can go into torpor and sleep for weeks while surviving off of its fat reserves.

However, raccoons can’t rely on torpor to keep them alive all winter long like pure hibernators can. Instead, they need to get up once or twice a week to hunt for food, warm themselves, and drink. Aside from that, raccoons may lose up to 50% of their body weight over the winter if they put off replenishing their fat reserves.

Do Pet Raccoons Hibernate?

Pet raccoons do not hibernate. However, they can sleep for a long duration. Wild raccoons hibernate or hide inside their dens to protect themselves from the cold. When there is shelter and food available to keep the raccoon comfortable, the chances of hibernation are lower.

Raccoons are lazy and love to sleep. They stay awake to search for food and mate. Pet raccoons in cold temperatures will spend most of their time sleeping instead of going on their daily activities.

Raccoons will eat a lot during fall to build the body fat to survive the winters. They sleep during the day and will awake at night. If you notice your garbage cans open at night, the high chances are it has been by the raccoon.

What Months Do Raccoons Hibernate? 

Raccoons do not truly hibernate; they stay active all year. This so-called hibernation period can begin from December to April. Raccoons prepare for winters or hibernating periods in summers by storing layers of fat in the body. 

Raccoons will hide inside their dens as the temperature falls and it becomes cold. They can sleep for an extended time. Sometimes they will stay in their den for months. Raccoons can come out for food.

Female raccoon’s breeding season begins soon after winter. Therefore, they will stay in the den for months until the baby raccoons are old enough to go out.

What Times Are Raccoons Most Active? 

Raccoons are nocturnal creatures. They stay active at night and sleep during the day. They are most active during summer, spring, and autumn.

Raccoons will stay inside dens, resting throughout the winter. However, they will come out for food and sometimes for a mate.

Raccoons will hide in their dens. They prepare for dens months before winter. Raccoons accumulate tons of fat on its body to keep them warm and to get through the freezing temperature without going out. 

Raccoons’ activity begins at dawn, and they begin to retire to their dens at dusk. During this time, it will look for food and can invade your home.

Do Raccoons Come Around In The Winter? 

Raccoons are active all year, but you will see fewer raccoons during winter. Especially in freezing areas, the raccoon will hide inside their dens. They store enough body fat during autumn to last them most days of the winter.

Raccoons will sleep inside the dens in cold temperatures. Once the temperature increase, they will come out of their hiding. Raccoons will come out of their habitat during cold as they are not true hibernators.

Raccoons will sleep for several weeks in winter. They can build their den to rest anywhere they find comfortable: like chimney attics, abandoned cars, and buildings. Raccoons are rather lonely.

Yet in the cold, two or more raccoons will sleep in one den. Plus, they will move together in search of food.

Where Do Raccoons Hibernate?

Raccoons favor chimneys, attics, porches, sheds, and crawl spaces to hide during torpor or hibernation. Moreover, they used to choose a den and then line it with anything they could find, including leaves, twigs, bark, rubbish, and other materials, to make it warmer. Additionally, raccoons in some areas, particularly those in the north, may accumulate body fat in the spring and summer so they can spend the winter hibernating in their dens.

Additionally, raccoons are often solitary creatures that guard their homes from intruders. However, in the cold, numerous raccoons may den together to retain body heat. If there is enough room and the den is adequately protected, raccoons will congregate there to build their nest. They might be present underneath your deck, porch, or shed.

Do Raccoons Change Locations Or Migrate? 


Typically, raccoons do not change location in winter. Raccoons can adapt effortlessly. Therefore, they can survive anywhere in the world. Raccoons can live in hot or cold temperatures.

The earth provides it with favorable conditions to live and reproduce. Raccoons prefer living in urban settings as there is an ample supply of food and comfortable shelters. 

After detailed research on raccoons’, the Loupe from national geographic states that this specie can deal with different environmental and climatic conditions.

Raccoons will change their den location after every few weeks. They prefer living near food. For food and mate, raccoons will change several locations. They can travel to many places.

The movement of the raccoon is not affected by climate but rather their search for food, water, and mate. Raccoons like to live near water bodies as they are somewhat cleaner mammals compared to other wild animals.

Do Urban Raccoons Hibernate?

No, urban raccoons don’t hibernate, instead, they enter into a state of inactivity called torpor when the temperature is less than 15 degrees. But before winter arrives, they consume as much food as possible to put on weight and thicken their coats to resist the cold.

Furthermore, when food is scarce in the winter, the raccoon doesn’t hibernate; instead, it sleeps for protracted periods when the weather is unfavorable. During this time, they can drop up to 50% of their body weight while subsisting solely on fat reserves.

Despite neither hibernating nor migrating throughout the winter, urban raccoons may frequently sleep for up to a month during the coldest days of the year. As a result, their bodies shut down and enter a deep sleep during their extended nap.

How Do Raccoons Prepare For Hibernation?

Raccoons begin their winter preparation at the beginning of the fall. They eat in excess during fall to produce layers of fat on their body. The fat will provide insulation to keep them warm during the cold.

Raccoons will also look for warm places to make a nest. They prefer making a nest inside hollow trees, abandoned buildings, abandoned dens, attics, and chimneys.

It is to keep them comfortable and warm during extreme temperatures. Plus, raccoons can also share one place during winter. 

Raccoons are omnivorous and eat anything available. This behavior will help them go through the winters when food sources are scarce.

Additionally, to save fats and energy, raccoons will sleep for weeks. When the temperature gets slightly better, they will move out in search of food.

How To Prevent Raccoon Hibernating In Your Home?

Raccoons like to live in comfortable and cozy places. Your home can be a perfect place for a raccoon to hibernate in. To prevent raccoon invasion in your home, you will try the following techniques:

  • Never keep your trash cans near the house doors. The leftovers in the garbage will attract raccoons. They are mischievous and intelligent and can figure out simple house locks.
  • If you own pets; and have a pet door make sure to keep the doors closed. The pet doors are easy to access for raccoons to invade the homes.
  • Keep a check on your house structure. In case there are any holes or openings’ seal them tightly. A raccoon can enter your home through any small space, especially attics, and chimneys.
  • If there is any broken window, replace it immediately else the raccoon can find its way inside the house.


Raccoons mimic hibernation, but they are not true hibernators. They are active all year. Raccoons can adapt to every temperature and surrounding. They are highly adapted to animals and will change their behavior according to their surroundings.

Raccoons prefer sleeping throughout the winter. They will begin their winter preparation in the fall. Raccoons will grow multiple layers of fat on their body to survive without food for weeks when hibernating. Raccoons can come out of their dens in winter to look for food and mate. 

You must have got an answer to your question at this point. If you have any more queries feel free to comment below.


How Far Do Racoons Migrate?

Although raccoons typically stay close to their home range and occupy a specific area when they are scavenging, they may travel up to 10 miles for migration or in search of food or a mate. Raccoons typically stay in one location, but when breeding season arrives, they may migrate elsewhere.

Can Racoons Survive the Heat?

Even though raccoons love summer, they can’t survive extremely hot weather. Unless it’s not too hot outside, raccoons spend less time in attics throughout the summer. However, in search of safety, young raccoons often return to the attic where they were born.

What Is the Climate of a Raccoon?

Raccoons are very adaptable animals. They can be found in various climates, from chilly grasslands to balmy tropical regions. Raccoons love to reside in wet, forested areas. But you can also find them in urban, suburban, and agricultural settings. They construct their dens in tree cavities and fox or woodchuck burrows that have been abandoned.


Raccoons habits- Ecological Monographs