As birds fly south for the winter, many mammals in the New York/New Jersey area go into hibernation. While this may seem like the animals are no longer an issue until the Spring, you may actually have a bigger problem on your hands. Many wild animals that hibernate, such as skunks and squirrels, may take up residence on your property.
What Animals Hibernate in My Area?
In the New York and New Jersey area, there are many animals that hibernate during the winter. This can include squirrels, skunks, snakes, moles, groundhogs, some bats, and more. Hibernation is a deep, sleep-like state where the animal does not venture out of its den. Rather, their body turns off all but the most necessary functions, and they survive off of stored fat.
Notably, raccoons and opossums do not hibernate, but rather slow down their metabolism in a similar way, known as torpor. During torpor, an animal may venture out of their den in search of food, but will usually stay inside of its shelter.
Animals will seek out warm, weatherproof places to den before it is time to hibernate. This can often include manmade structures. Attics, crawl spaces, sheds, and chimneys are common structures that can make a good shelter for pests. These areas can be damaged or soiled by these pest animals living within. Additionally, they can spread diseases to your family via waste material or parasites.
Alternatively, some animals can create underground dens on your property. Holes dug to access these tunnels can damage your lawn. Tunnels and holes can also create areas of high injury risk. Some animals may even burrow under the foundation of structures on your property, which can create structural issues.