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Title: The Winter Intruders: Why Raccoons Seek Attics in Hamilton, Ontario.

As the winter chill settles over Hamilton, Ontario, homeowners may find themselves dealing with unexpected houseguests—raccoons. These crafty creatures have a knack for finding their way into attics, causing havoc and leaving residents wondering why. In Hamilton's winter climate, several factors contribute to raccoons seeking shelter in attics, including escaping the harsh elements, searching for food sources, and creating a warm haven for nesting and birthing. This article will explain in depth these three primary reasons raccoons break into attics in Hamilton during the winter.

1. Escaping the Elements

Hamilton experiences cold and snowy winters, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Raccoons are highly adaptive and seek refuge in warm and dry places when the weather becomes inhospitable. Attics provide an ideal escape from the harsh winter elements, offering insulation against the cold and protection from wind and snow.

During extreme weather conditions, raccoons instinctively look for secure shelters to avoid frostbite and freezing temperatures. Attics are attractive to them because they provide a secluded and insulated environment, shielding the raccoons from the biting cold outside.

Hamilton's winter weather typically features temperatures ranging from -10°C to 0°C (14°F to 32°F), with occasional snowfall. Raccoons, being resourceful creatures, recognize that attics offer a cozy refuge from these unforgiving conditions.

November: The Prelude to Winter

As autumn gives way to winter, November in Hamilton marks the beginning of raccoon activity seeking refuge from the encroaching chill. Daytime temperatures range from 2°C to 9°C (36°F to 48°F), with occasional rain providing an early precursor to the winter months. Raccoons, anticipating the colder days ahead, may scout for suitable shelter, including attics, to escape the looming frigidity.

December: The Silent Intruders Arrive

With daytime temperatures dropping further to -2°C to 3°C (28°F to 37°F), December sees an increase in raccoon break-ins. The occasional freezing rain prompts raccoons to seek insulated spaces, such as attics, for warmth and protection. Homeowners may start noticing signs of raccoon activity, from unusual sounds to visual evidence of property damage.

January: The Depths of Winter

January brings the coldest temperatures of the season, ranging from -4°C to 1°C (25°F to 34°F). As snow blankets Hamilton, raccoons, adept at adapting to urban environments, become more desperate for warmth. Attics become enticing options for raccoons to nest and avoid the biting cold. Residents may hear scratching sounds and notice damage to insulation as raccoons establish their winter abode.

February: Nesting and Birthing Season

Similar to January, February maintains cold temperatures, further encouraging raccoons to seek shelter. This month is significant as it coincides with the raccoon birthing season. Attics, with their secluded and insulated spaces, become birthing sites for raccoons looking to give birth to and raise their kits. Homeowners may encounter raccoon families in their attics, requiring careful consideration to address the situation humanely.

March: The Transition to Milder Weather

March sees a gradual warming trend, with daytime temperatures ranging from 0°C to 7°C (32°F to 45°F). Raccoons may still be active in attics, but with the arrival of milder conditions, they may begin exploring outdoor spaces in preparation for the spring. Homeowners should remain vigilant and address any raccoon presence before it leads to extensive property damage.

April: A Transition to Spring

As temperatures continue to rise in April, ranging from 6°C to 14°C (43°F to 57°F), raccoons start seeking alternative shelter as winter wanes. Attics may still be attractive, but the warmer weather encourages raccoons to explore other nesting options. Homeowners can use this transition period to seal entry points and prevent future break-ins.

2) Food Sources: Roof Rats

Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and can adapt their diet to whatever is available. In urban areas like Hamilton, homes often provide an abundance of food sources, including garbage bins, compost, and, unfortunately, potential meals within attics.

Many homes unknowingly attract raccoons by having accessible food in their attics. For instance, roof rats, a common attic pest, can be a tempting and easy food source for raccoons.

Hamilton, Ontario, a city known for its diverse landscapes and vibrant communities, is unfortunately grappling with a growing issue that is causing concern among homeowners—roof rats infiltrating attics. These elusive rodents have found a haven in the cozy and secluded spaces of residential attics, posing a threat to both property and human health. In this article, we'll explore the reasons behind the rise of roof rats in Hamilton's attics and discuss effective measures homeowners can take to address this issue.

Roof rats, scientifically known as Rattus rattus, are agile climbers and are aptly named for their tendency to seek shelter in high places, such as attics and ceilings. Hamilton's urban environment provides an ideal habitat for these rodents, as they are attracted to the abundance of food sources and secure nesting spaces One primary reason for the increasing presence of roof rats in Hamilton attics is the ready availability of food. These rodents are opportunistic feeders, and they thrive in areas where food is easily accessible. Garbage bins, bird feeders, and pet food left outdoors can attract roof rats, leading them to venture into residential areas in search of sustenance. Attics offer roof rats an ideal environment for nesting. These spaces provide warmth, protection from predators, and a secluded location to raise their young. Once roof rats find their way into attics, they can quickly establish nests, leading to a growing infestation over time. Hamilton's mix of urban and suburban landscapes, coupled with its climate, creates conditions conducive to roof rat infestations. The city's colder winters drive these rodents indoors, seeking refuge in insulated attics to escape the harsh weather.

Raccoons will often break into an attic looking for a quick meal and then remain in the attic after realizing it is a comfortable and safe location. It is common to have both raccoons and roof rats living in the attic at the same time. It is also possible that the raccoon will have hunted all of the roof rats and taken care of the rat infestation.

3) Nesting and Birth

As winter's grip begins to loosen in Hamilton, Ontario, a fascinating and often overlooked natural phenomenon takes center stage—the raccoon birthing season. These masked bandits, known for their adaptability to urban environments, embark on a remarkable journey of bringing new life into the world. In order to find a safe place for babies, mother raccoons will often break into the attic looking for a warm place to raise her young.

Timing of Raccoon Birthing Season:

Raccoon birthing season in Hamilton typically occurs from late winter to early spring, with February and March being the peak months. The timing is strategic, allowing raccoons to give birth to their young, known as kits, before the arrival of milder spring weather. During this period, female raccoons, or sows, seek out safe and secluded locations to create nests for their upcoming litters.

Hamilton's urban landscape provides a unique backdrop for raccoons to navigate during the birthing season. These intelligent mammals have demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to human-dominated environments. Attics, crawlspaces, and other sheltered areas in residential neighborhoods become sought-after locations for raccoon nests as they offer warmth, protection, and a secluded space to raise their young.

Signs of Raccoon Birthing Activity:

  • Nesting Materials:

  • Female raccoons meticulously gather nesting materials such as leaves, twigs, and insulation to create a cozy and secure space for their kits. Homeowners may notice signs of nesting activity in attics or other sheltered areas.

  • Sounds of Activity:

  • During the birthing season, the attic may become a hub of activity as female raccoons tend to their newborns. Residents might hear faint sounds of movement, scratching, or the soft vocalizations of young raccoons.

  • Increased Nocturnal Activity:

  • Raccoons are primarily nocturnal, and during the birthing season, their nocturnal activity might increase. Homeowners may notice more frequent nighttime movements as raccoons forage for food and care for their young.

Life Cycle of Raccoon Kits:

Raccoon kits are born blind and deaf, completely dependent on their mother for care and protection. The birthing season is a critical period during which female raccoons devote themselves to nurturing and raising their offspring. As the kits grow, they become more active, exploring their surroundings under the watchful eye of their mother.

Homeowners must be vigilant in identifying and addressing potential access points to their attics to prevent raccoons from establishing nests. Once a raccoon family takes up residence in an attic, they can cause damage to insulation, wiring, and other structural elements.


Understanding why raccoons invade attics in Hamilton during the winter is crucial for homeowners seeking to prevent these encounters. By addressing the primary reasons for raccoon intrusion—escaping the elements, searching for food sources, and creating nests—residents can take proactive measures to secure their homes and make them less appealing to these resourceful creatures. Winter may be a challenging time for both humans and raccoons, but with proper precautions, homeowners can avoid unwelcome visitors in their attics.

Article Summary:

Raccoons in Hamilton seek shelter in attics during winter for specific reasons.

Three Primary Reasons for Attic Break-Ins:

1. Escaping the Elements:

  • Attics provide insulation and protection from the harsh winter weather.

  • Raccoons instinctively seek warm and dry spaces during cold temperatures.

2. Food Sources:

  • Urban areas offer accessible food sources like garbage bins and roof rats in attics.

  • Raccoons are attracted to homes with potential food supplies, leading them to attics.

3. Nesting and Birthing:

  • Attics serve as secluded and warm spaces for raccoons to nest and give birth.

  • In mild winters, birthing can occur in February, making attics ideal birthing locations.


  • Understanding these reasons is crucial for homeowners to take proactive measures in preventing raccoons from breaking into attics during the winter months in Hamilton.

If you think you have a raccoon problem or are unsure of how to prevent them from entering your attic, it's best to call a professional wildlife removal company like Integrity Wildlife Control. We can safely and effectively remove raccoons from your property and help prevent future infestations.

Our work comes with a Lifetime Warranty and a Guaranteed Removal. When we seal a building, our goal is to make our work cosmetically pleasing and look as though we have not been there. Some companies use cheap material that does not last and hurts the appearance and value of the home. If you need help with raccoon removal in Hamilton or the Ontario area, give us a call at (289) 272-9453 or fill out This Form and we will call you back today.


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