All mammals are united in their distaste for sleeping in environments that are too warm, and this is due to a layer of fat that serves as insulation from cold temperatures. Humans can understand the “layer of fat”, since we retained that trait, but very few humans can understand how hot it must get when being coated in fur…unless you happen to be an extremely hairy guy, of course. For a raccoon, even temperatures that hover over the freezing point can be warm enough to wake raccoons from their wintertime snooze.
Obviously, since raccoons can become conscious after long bouts of deep sleep and during the middle of the winter, raccoons don’t hibernate in the way that you may think. Raccoons, like black bears and skunks, experience a type of wintertime slumber known as carnivorean lethargy.
Just before autumn, and before raccoons enter a long sleep, raccoons will eat unusually large quantities of food in order to, basically, make themselves fat. These fat deposits are then used as an energy source that sustains the long-sleeping raccoons. However, in more and more cases, and in large part due to rising global temperatures, more raccoons are being disturbed from their annual slumber-fest. Once these raccoons awaken, they go looking for food. However, they can cause damage to property, or just become a public nuisance in general, which is a situation that would never occur if only raccoons could just stay cool…while sleeping during the wintertime.
Have you experienced any raccoon related troubles, such as rummaging through trash that occurred during the winter months?