Raccoons, skunks and opossums take on winter. Who will fair best of the three? These wildlife pests are active much of the year and all three of these critters will enter your property looking for food and shelter. Outside, nuts, berries, fruit, dog food and bird feeders will attract them. They will also rummage through your garbage or try to get into pet food containers in your garage. Homeowners may notice little pawprints in damp soil. That’s an indication they’ve been running through your yard. These wildlife will look for hollow trees, abandoned buildings, rock crevices and woodchuck borrows as well as your home to spend the winter. Raccoons and skunks will root around for earthworms and grubs in the spring and fall. They are all omnivores and will eat everything they can catch including earthworms, insects, birds and their eggs as well as small rodents. These critters do not hibernate or move to areas with better climates, nor do they build a stockpile of food to have on hand when the weather gets cold. Winters can get very cold, so where do they go? How do they survive?
How Do Raccoons Survive the Winter?
Raccoons are best suited for survival. They are the largest of the three and may spend the winter alone. Female might hunker down with the current year’s almost mature babies. If the weather is bad, they will remain in the den they’ve chosen, sleeping lightly until the temperatures improve. When they emerge, they’ll be looking for anything they can find to eat. These little masked bandits live for about two to three years, with some living up to 12 years.
How Do Skunks Live Through Cold Weather?
Skunks will build dens in many of the same areas as raccoons but they don’t climb trees. When the temperatures drop, they will remain in their dens. Skunks are gentle little critters and will spend the winter in groups of a dozen or more. This makes it easy for them to survive the harsh winters. Skunks have been known to lower their body temperature about 10 degrees for short periods of time. This will not however give them the upper hand to make it through the winter. If the winter is harsh and there is deep snow with a lack of food, 50 percent can die. The average lifespan is four years for skunks.
How Do Opossums Make it Through Winter?
Of the three, opossums have the hardest time with winter. They do not share nests and will find abandoned woodchuck burrows, hollow trees and brush piles to make a den. While they aren’t known to be very clever, they are smart enough to gather dry grass and leaves to line the inside if their den. Opossums little ears and tails are hairless and often get frost bitten. Many times, you will see opossums running around without the tip of its tail. Like raccoons and skunks, they will rest inside their den when the weather gets bad and will look for food to stay alive. They will frequent the areas under bird feeders like other animals during the winter months. They live for less than two years.
Wildlife Pest Exclusion Control, Removal & More in Chelsea, Trussville, Pinson, Argo, Odenville, Springville, Moody, Hoover, Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills & Birmingham, Alabama
So even though it’s cold outside and the ground might be covered with snow, you still might be dealing with one of these critters. Contact Guardian Pest & Wildlife Control for expert wildlife removal and other pest control services.