Animals in Winter: How They Survive
When temperatures plummet, and snow blankets the landscape, survival requires great resourcefulness for animals in winter. Strategies vary from species to species. Virtually any animal that doesn’t hibernate or migrate may look to your yard for their next meal.
Storage vs. Forage
The two most common survival techniques for animals in winter are storing food in advance of winter and foraging for whatever food they can find.
Chipmunks and squirrels excel at storage. Chipmunks hibernate for a few days at a time, then wake to snack on food they’ve stored in their burrows. Squirrels prepare for winter by burying nuts in multiple locations for later retrieval, sometimes covering as much as 7 acres.
Squirrels also forage during the winter months, as anyone with a bird feeder can tell you. In addition, they sometimes sample tree bark, though rarely do significant damage.
Destructive foraging comes from animals of all sizes, from deer to rabbits to voles.
Winter Dining for Deer
When foliage has died back and snow covers the ground, what’s a hungry deer to do? A single adult deer requires 5 to 7 pounds of food per day to survive – that’s a lot of deer browse!
As you may realize all too well, evergreens top their list of favorite winter meals. Yews, arborvitae, and even prickly plants like holly are the first to go. Dormant buds and stems are also at risk, as well as tree bark.
Deer can do devastating damage to plants and trees in winter. The best protection, short of a physical fence, is spraying with an effective, long-lasting repellent such as Bobbex, rated #1 in an independent study conducted by the Connecticut Department of Forestry and Horticulture.
Small but Mighty Foragers
In winter, rabbits hunker down in brush piles and hollowed out tree stumps, both to conserve energy and to hide from predators. But they’re still active foragers, especially at dawn and dusk. Bark from shrubs, young trees and other woody perennials become the mainstay of their winter diet.
Perhaps the most damaging winter foragers are the smallest: voles and mice. Not only are they voracious eaters, but with their underground tunnels, every part of a plant – including roots, seeds and bulbs – becomes accessible to them. When winter is over, they can leave destruction in its wake, including unattractive tunnels all over your yard.
Thankfully, top-rated Bobbex offers protection against smaller foragers too, with Bobbex-R Rabbit and Small Herbivore Repellent. It can be sprayed on any low-lying vegetation, in the openings of burrows, and even on bulbs as they’re planted. Protecting vulnerable plants year-round couldn’t be simpler.