Monday, January 18. 2021
January has arrived with reasonably mild temperatures and less snow than usual in southern Ontario. But like most January’s raccoons are still having difficulty finding food. Most of the food that they are accustomed to finding during the warmer times of the year is either buried under a layer of snow or frozen solid.
But unlike their cousin the black bear, raccoons do not hibernate but rather have a long nap awaiting a break in the cold temperatures. When overnight temperatures drop below zero degrees Celsius raccoons tend to sleep away the cold nights inside the attics of homes rather than wasting their valuable energy searching for non-existent food sources. Raccoons are capable of going without food for approximately 30 to 45 days if need be.
But this January raccoons are behaving differently than most years. Even with the overnight temperature dipping slightly below zero, it is the lack of snow cover that is making a big change in their behaviour. Raccoons are venturing outside their warm attic dens but not to find food, they have something more important on their minds. Love is in the air and a raccoon’s thoughts have gone from sleeping to mating.
Raccoons generally mate during the January thaw which can occur mid to late January, but this unusual warm weather is causing them to mate earlier than normal. Once baby raccoons are born, there will be a lot of chittering noises emanating from the attic. A lot of our customers describe the noise of a crying baby raccoon as multiple birds chirping at one time. They make this sound when they feel bothered or are hungry. While the crying noise will occur primarily at night when the mother raccoon goes out for food, it can also occur throughout the day.
Female raccoon will give birth to 1 - 7 babies approximately 62 days after mating. So be forewarned, it is very likely that the chittering of baby raccoons in the attic will occur earlier this year than previous years.