It’s That Cold!? Already?
It seems like only yesterday we were wishing for a pool to escape the summer heat. Now it gets dark before dinner, and the temperatures continue to drop each week. It gets especially cold once the sun sets. This leaves critters searching for a warm, dry place to call home for the coming winter months. Attics, garages, crawl spaces and sheds all make great targets for squirrels, raccoons, rodents, and other wildlife to get cozy in.
With critters looking for some refuge from the rapidly dropping temperatures at night, you may notice some new activity underneath your wheel-wells, hood, or even inside, your vehicle.
(Frosty truck. Photo: Lyon Media)
All animals, (including us humans), have four basic needs: air, water, food and shelter – someplace to call home that offers protection from the elements and other critters. Looking at this from a small animal’s perspective, trucks make great shelters:
- Rodents are small enough to make a doorway out of a dime-size hole, so there are all kinds of nooks and crannies safe from sun, wind, cold, rain, snow, and things that would love to turn them into a snack.
- There’s plenty of building materials nearby like wire insulation, upholstery fabric and stuffing, and rug fibers to decorate with.
- Sometimes you get a free ride!
Squirrels stay very active during the winter, which is why you’ll see them sprinting around even on the coldest of Tennessee winter days. Attic spaces are very, very appealing to squirrels in the winter due to the warmth and shelter they provide.
Skunks typically live in the same areas year-round, (burrowing under decks, patios, and stoops), but because they’re less active, skunks go largely unnoticed. Most folks assume that they are hibernating. Believe it or not, skunks don’t engage in full hibernation, but will enter into torpor during bouts of extreme weather. Torpor is a state of reduced activity when an animal’s body temperature and metabolism are lowered in order to preserve energy. Hibernation is a form of torpor, but much deeper.