How Winter Affects Wild Animals

When the temperatures start to cool down, we start to turn our heaters on, put on the extra layers, and spend a bit more time indoors away from the freezing cold. 

Where do wild animals go in the Winter? What happens to insects? 

Many people have their guesses, but few know certainly what happens to all that wildlife in Winter. 

Check out the video version of this post HERE, filled with awesome animal footage. 

Where Does Wildlife Go in the Winter? 

Some wild creatures, such as the bear, enter a state of “hibernation” in which they are sleeping off the Winter. 

Many wild animals and insects do NOT hibernate though, which begs the question: where are they going? 

Let’s cover a few of the different types of wild creatures, and what they do to survive brutal Winters. 


Did you know that 50% of all known species on Earth are insects? That’s a ton of insects, but during the Winter you can be hard pressed to find many out and about. 

Insects struggle a fair bit during the Winter as the cooling temperatures makes it near impossible for them to move. 

Many insects combat this by migrating just like birds down South. They fly up North when temperatures get warmer, and when they feel it starting to cool down they go back down South. 

The reason insects (and birds) do this is because there is less competition for resources the farther up North you go, whereas down South there is significantly more competition. 

For example, Canada is nearly the same size as the continent of Europe, yet the population is only 38 million compared to Europe’s 741 million. When insects & birds travel up North, they get more natural environment and space to thrive! 

Many insects do not migrate though because they lack the capacity to travel long-distance, such as in ants, or other colony-based insect species such as bees, wasps, and hornets.

Ants will bury themselves in the Winter, and live off of storage that they have collected in their underground colony. They typically do not move a whole lot, however there can be some movement on warmer Winter days. 

Some species of hornets will stay slightly active, however they will rarely leave the hive and if they do it’s on warm, sunny days. 

Other insects will literally bury themselves underground in hopes that they will re-animate when temperatures warm up in Summer! 


Snakes and other cold-blooded animals will often create a giant ball of other snakes in order to stay warm and survive during the Winter. 

With less wild animals out and about, they also will have to eat a lot in order to survive the Winter. 

Snakes particularly enter a state called “brumation,” which isn’t entirely hibernation however it is similar in some ways. It is basically a big slowing down of their internal processes so that they can survive long Winters. 

While not too common, you may be surprised to find snakes out and about on a warm, Winter day collecting some sunlight to warm themselves up and see if any small animals pop by their hideout. 

Small Animals 

Small animals will typically prepare a nest of sorts in order to survive. One method to do this is to go inside of a dead tree trunk with other wild creatures. 

Raccoons & squirrels for example will prepare food + shelter during the Summer with other members of the species, and then nap together during the Winter. 

Like other wild creatures they won’t be that active during the Winter, however some such as squirrels may be found out and about! 


Many wild creatures will hide underground, in tree trunks, create nests, but with the advancement of human civilization creatures have found another way to not just survive but thrive during the Winter. 

Our homes and urban structures often have hidden weaknesses not easily seen by the human eye that wild creatures are exploiting in order to thrive during tough times. 

For example, rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter. Many wild creatures like rats are able to shrink themselves and gnaw open bigger holes in order to find ways into our urban structures. 

Wild creature infestation happens to tons of home-owners & property owners every single year, and as we continue to urbanize these numbers will only continue to grow. 

Furthermore urban creatures, such as the urban raccoon, are measuring significantly higher in intelligence than their natural counterparts. 

One raccoon study confirmed that urban raccoons were starting to evolve high intelligence, and they were more capable of opening garbage bins, handling traps, and finding their way through a maze. 

What this means for you is that your home or property may be at risk for wildlife infestation.

This can cause all sorts of problems such as disease, damage to the structure, and more! 

Wildlife x Team International specializes in safe & responsible removal of wild creatures + pests from your home, and we restore it back to its ideal state. 

When possible we will completely safely remove wild animals and return them to a safe place in the wild where they can live naturally. 

If you think you have a wildlife or pest problem, please call us at 855-WILDLIFE or visit for more information! 

-Wildlife x Team International 

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