An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Raccoons Active During Warm Spell

1-21-14 raccoon tracks 049During the recent warm spell raccoons were actively roaming the woods, visiting open water and leaving signs of their presence. When cold weather arrives in the fall, raccoons search out hollow trees, logs, crevices, etc. in which to den. They become dormant, but do not hibernate. If the temperature rises above 30 degrees F. at night as it did during the last week, they become active, but now that the temperature has dropped to sub-zero temperatures at night, they have retreated back to their dens. During mild winters, raccoons remain active; during colder winters, they are usually dormant between late November and March. A winter with vacillating temperatures, such as the one we’re experiencing, has them going in and out of dormancy.

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4 responses

  1. janetpesaturo

    Hmm, I wonder if the temperature threshold for night time activity is even lower than 30, because I see raccoon tracks very, very commonly around wetlands in winter, here in MA.

    January 21, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    • That’s interesting, Janet. My source for 30 degrees is Godin (Wild Mammals of N.E.), but I’m sure it varies, depending on the habitat, etc. I hadn’t seen any sign of raccoons all winter until last week.

      January 21, 2014 at 9:43 pm

  2. Meredith Wade

    I saw muddy raccoon prints the other day too.
    Thanks for your visit to Putney. I really enjoyed your slide presentation.

    January 23, 2014 at 1:23 am

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