Raccoons do not hibernate like bears. Instead, they enter a semi-hibernating state called torpor that lets them remain in a lengthy sleep state. While in this condition, a raccoon’s body temperature lowers enough to cause a substantial increase in insulin production. Excess insulin reduces raccoon metabolism and energy usage, so raccoons don’t have to leave their dens to forage every day.
Raccoon Activity Before Torpor
Before semi-hibernating, raccoons are constantly on the prowl for food. During this “fattening up” period, raccoons are more likely to cause damage inside and outside of Florida homes. They have a keen sense of smell that can detect food odors dozens of yards away. Like mice and rats, they can squeeze through openings much smaller than the size of their bodies.
A raccoon preparing to curl up in their den and enter torpor may cause significant roof and attic damage to residential Florida homes:
- Powerful, sharp raccoon claws easily rip away shingles and underlying roof materials to enter attics
- A single raccoon can destroy an attic or other upper area of a home by tearing apart drywall and pipe insulation
- Raccoons create holes in air ducts through which they enter and take up residence in your HVAC system
- Raccoons chew on wires, wood, and other materials with which to make nests
Health Dangers of Raccoons
While in hyperactive mode before torpor, raccoons not only damage property but can also present a serious health risk to humans. Rabies is the top health danger raccoons pose to humans. Unpredictable and aggressive, a rabid raccoon can suddenly lunge and bite a person who is trying to capture it or lure it out of their home.
Thatâ€™s why homeowners with a raccoon infestation are strongly urged to call professional wildlife control specialists to handle the immediate removal of raccoons. Never try to trap or chase a raccoon off your property. In addition to rabies, raccoons are also known to carry bacterial infections like giardia and leptospirosis, two serious diseases causing fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
Expert Raccoon Removal
Raccoons in Florida are on the move right now, scavenging day and night for food before the colder weather moves in. If you suspect you have been invaded by raccoons, contact Critter ControlÂ® of Tampa for quick, effective, and humane raccoon removal. Call us today to schedule your free home inspection.