Do Rodents Hibernate During Winter? 

It is not uncommon for Oklahoma to experience highly diverse weather throughout the winter and fall months. In just a week, temperatures can range from 72°F and sunny to 10°F and icy. With so much variation possible, many homeowners might be asking themselves, “What rodents hibernate, and which will be active in the winter?” Unfortunately, not all rodents hibernate. In fact, many of them might be staying warm in your home or garage right now without your knowledge.

Many Larger Outdoor Rodent Species Will Hibernate

Although most people view rodents as tiny household pests that occasionally require traps, many different species qualify under this classification. For instance, groundhogs, or woodchucks, can be a common nuisance for homeowners as they create tunnels throughout their yard. Fortunately, they halt this process and hibernate the entire winter, sleeping underground to retain as much warmth as possible.

Other common rodents will hibernate as well, including prairie dogs, meadow jumping mice, ground squirrels, and chipmunks. However, of these species, chipmunks will wake up for a few days to eat some of their reserved and buried seeds to sustain themselves throughout the colder months. In most cases, you can expect all these rodent species to seemingly disappear for 5-8 months if the conditions are cold enough to warrant it for their survival.

Group of prairie dogs

What Rodents Seek Shelter Indoors Instead of Hibernating?

Because most smaller rodents, like mice and rats, are mammals, they must stay warm to survive colder temperatures. For this reason, they will begin seeking shelter in warm places that are accessible to them, including basements, attics, garages, or inside foundation gaps that allow warm air to escape. Many homeowners will not even be aware of their presence unless their population numbers grow exponentially because they are nocturnal and only forage when they cannot be seen or heard easily.

Unlike ground squirrels, many common tree squirrels will remain active throughout the winter months for mating, including the reddish-brown fox squirrel and eastern gray squirrel. And while these rodents may appear cute and cuddly, they will often be found forcing their way into attics to stay warm. Usually building a nest and storing food there as they continue their gestation period and give birth.

Raccoons are often another common nuisance for homeowners during the winter months, although they are not rodents at all. However, many Oklahomans think of them as rodents because of their eating and nesting habits. Like squirrels, raccoons will stay active if the weather is not highly unforgiving. While they will often burrow in a den until the weather passes, any trashcans near the garage or home could lure them into staying nearby.

Three raccoons

If you find evidence of rodents inside your home, it is important to schedule a pest inspection with a qualified professional. Many of these species will continue to mate year-round – leading to a population explosion that can quickly become an infestation in a matter of months. If you suspect that critters may have infiltrated your garage, attic, or other areas of your home, give Emtec Pest Control a call so we can help you evict them.

At Emtec Pest Control, we are committed to safe and responsible pest control. We understand that your family’s safety is your number one priority, so we make it our priority, too. If you have any other questions about any of these pests or pest control for your home or business, contact your Oklahoma pest control experts at Emtec Pest Control by calling us or by filling out our online contact form. Our service areas in Northeast Oklahoma include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Stillwater, Tulsa and the surrounding areas. In Central Oklahoma, we service Edmond, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon and the surrounding areas. You can also connect with us on social media for more helpful pest control tips and information. We are on Facebook.