On cold winter nights you hear a scratching in your chimney, and aren’t sure what it could be. Your dog and cat become unusually interested in the chimney and bark or hiss at it in apparent aggravation. You might have new temporary neighbors in the form of raccoons hiding from the cold in your chimney.
Raccoon Winter Behavior
Raccoons’ winter behavior increases their chances of coming into contact with humans during winter. Raccoons stay awake over the winter rather then hibernating. They change their normal behavior in a number of ways to be able to do this.
To adapt to winter they first prepare by putting on stores of fat before the winter. Then during the winter, they shrink their range to a much smaller area near an easily obtained opportunistic food source, like your trash, or animal food left outdoors. While normally opportunistic, they become even more so in the winter, and become more willing to risk contact with people or animals during the winter. Finally, and most importantly, during bouts of deep cold they will find warm dens to wait out the cold in. There they enter a state called “torpor” which is like a deep sleep where they use less energy. During severe winters, they may den with other raccoons to keep warm.
The problem with their winter behavior is that by shrinking their range and staying near easily obtained opportunistic food sources, they tend to stay near humans. And when bitter cold comes, they seek the warmest and closest place to den. Normally they’d den in hollow trees, but with an absence of hollow trees, and plenty of human structures nearby there have been an increasing number of incidents with raccoons dening in or near human houses. They like to den in any opening to your house, the crawlspace, attic, or most commonly your chimney.
Dangers Posed By Raccoons
While raccoons will avoid interacting with you directly while sleeping in your chimney, they still pose a health danger to your pets and family. Raccoons often have parasites like fleas, ticks, and lice. They also may carry diseases like distemper, mange, canine and feline parvovirus, and rabies. Their feces may also have roundworms in it that, if they come in contact with humans, can infect them with roundworms.
What to Do If You Get Raccoons
If you get raccoons in any part of your home you should begin by taking steps to protect your family and pets by limiting their access to the area where the raccoons are. You should also remove any food sources that the raccoons may access in or near your home. Next, for the raccoon removal itself, you should call an animal control specialist.
Call Shumaker’s Animal Control For Raccoon Removal
Call Shumaker Animal Control. Shumaker Animal Control is a twenty-five year veteran of the animal control profession and knows how to detect and properly remove raccoons from your Maryland Home. We can also patch any holes made by raccoons to keep them out and guarantee against them chewing back through it.
If you have any questions about animal removal, contact Shumaker Animal Control by calling (443) 854-8072 or click here today!