Even in mid-February, there are signs of spring. Tracks of animals that hole up during the cold winter months and emerge when the nights are warmer are starting to be seen.
Raccoons often seek shelter in dens for months at a time during the winter (they don’t technically hibernate, but experience torpor). When night temperatures rise above freezing they abandon their hollow tree cavities, often following streams or visiting wetlands. Although they occasionally may forage for aquatic prey such as fish or crayfish, Raccoons in New England eat very little during the winter. Rather, they utilize the fat they store in the fall, which is often more than 40% of their body weight. By the time spring arrives, they may have lost half of their fall weight.
If you find tracks this time of year that lead to or away from a den they may well be those of a male Raccoon who has emerged to seek out a mate.
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