As fall approaches, the whole world is starting to get ready. All the animals living around your neighborhood prepare for winter in their own ways. Many of these animals will fatten up for hibernation, build shelters, or simply migrate to warmer climates. Others aren’t going anywhere.
No matter how the seasons change, some things remain consistent. Come rain, shine, or snow, certain animals are always going to stick around to make nuisances out of themselves. No matter what the weather, these are the animals you should remain aware of all year. Even on the busiest fall day or the bleakest night of winter, don’t be surprised if you run into:
Of course, nature’s bandits wouldn’t leave you alone this fall. In winter, raccoons build small, sheltered dens. They spend much of the winter sleeping in these dens, especially during very cold days. Contrary to popular belief, however, raccoons do not hibernate. If anything, raccoons only become more ravenous and therefore more troubling in fall. When raccoons sense winter approaching, their fur thickens and they start eating more to fatten up.
Raccoons are nocturnal scavengers. They’ll eat just about anything they can find, and they’re particularly interested in your trash. In fall, raccoons will climb inside untended trash cans at night and tear into bags to get at food. They’ll often knock over the trash cans in the process to access them more easily. Raccoons spend weeks in their dens without eating during the winter, but they still have to come out regularly. When raccoons need food during the winter, they’ll aim for whatever’s the easiest and fastest.
Mice and rats don’t hibernate or enter torpor in the winter. If they want to survive the winter, they need to find a place to eat and shelter until spring. Rats are very sensitive to temperature and pressure changes, so they sense the changing season early. When rodents enter “fall mode” they start frantically searching for warm shelter. Drafts, food smells, and warmth will all draw rodents toward your home.
Rodent infestations happen most frequently (by far) during the fall, but they can happen any time of year. Rodents are extremely good at sniffing out access points around your home. They enter through gaps and cracks as small as a dime. Any gap you could possibly see is a gap that a rodent could use to squeeze inside. Once inside, rodents eat food, ruin storage materials, and even cause fire hazards. We recommend staying alert for rat and mice infestations all year, and especially in fall.
They have some stiff competition, but coyotes may be nature’s staunchest survivalists. No matter the weather or the temperature, coyotes keep on keeping on all year. Coyotes are opportunistic scavengers and predators, and they are not picky. These canines will chow down on pretty much anything they can get their paws on. During fall, coyotes start eating more. They get larger, their coat fills out for winter, and they may start scavenging for longer periods of time.
Winter can be tough on coyotes because they can easily run out of food to eat. Although they’re naturally quite shy, coyotes may wander close to your home if they get desperate enough. Coyotes aren’t usually aggressive, but they can be very dangerous if threatened or cornered. Many wild coyotes are diseased and transmit diseases. They can also attack outdoor pets. If you see a coyote near your home, you should call in pros to remove it right away.
Poor opossums. These wretched creatures never have it good. In spring and summer, they’re nearly defenseless–except to, you know, play opossum. In fall and winter, they can’t hibernate and their fur doesn’t fill out at all. Opossums often freeze to death or become severely frostbitten in the winter if they can’t find shelter. Unfortunately, as long as they’re alive, they’ll try to find this shelter in your home or yard.
Like other animals on this list, opossums are basically opportunistic scavengers. They’ll eat whatever they can get their hands on and climb just about anywhere to get it. Opossums often take shelter beneath existing structures like decks and porches. They’ll hunker down in their dens for weeks, but they never enter a state of torpor or hibernation. Opossums aren’t generally dangerous, but they can lash out if threatened. Opossums can also have and transmit rabies.
These four wildlife pests are always around, and they’re always a pain. If you ever find yourself dealing with one of these usual suspects, give Varment Guard a call. We’re available rain or shine, winter or summer–and we’re always happy to solve your wildlife problem.