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Aina Meducci 2012


The following blog posts is not genuinely from my research but through readings and citation from trusted website. I do not own any of the copyright and therefore you may use it at your own risk


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Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals, characterized by lower body temperature, slower breathing, and lower metabolic rate which help animals to survive in the roughest and toughest condition . Hibernating animals conserve food, especially during winter when food supplies are limited, tapping energy reserves, body fat, at a slow rate. It is the animal's slowed metabolic rate which leads to a reduction in body temperature and not the other way around.

Also known as deep sleep of the animal at certain period of time. Only in winter region (but some animals hibernate in summer)

Hibernation may last several days or weeks depending on species, ambient temperature, and time of year, and fur on the animal's body. The typical winter season for a hibernator is characterized by periods of hibernation interrupted by sporadic euthermic arousals wherein body temperature is restored to typical levels. There is a hypothesis that hibernators build a need for sleep during hibernation more slowly than normally, and must occasionally warm up in order to eat. This has been supported by some evidence in the arctic ground squirrel.

A hibernate bear

GETTING READY: During the fall, hibernating animals eat more food than usual. Their bodies will live off their body fat as they ‘sleep’ through winter. The animal will use up the body fat it stores and not lose any muscle. This causes the animal to come out of hibernation thinner but still as strong as it was in the fall. The animals get their winter nests, dens and burrows ready. Different kinds of animals hibernate in different kinds of safe spots. When they go into hibernation and their bodies slow down, enemies can get them easier. They try to pick the safest place to spend the winter away from these enemies.

What is it and how does the animal do it?

Hibernation is the way that animals adapt to the climate and land around them. Animals must be able to live through extreme cold…. or die. Animals hibernate—or deep sleep—to escape that cold. They also do this because it is really hard to find food during the winter. Food gives animals the energy they need to walk, run, hunt for food, and lots of other things. Hibernating animals store food as body fat during the end of summer and during fall. This body fat runs their bodies all winter. This would be hard to do if they stayed awake, moved around a lot, or ran around because those things would use up the body fat before winter was over. A hibernating animal’s body saves energy by doing a couple of cool things.

When an animal begins to hibernate, its body temperature drops very low so that it almost matches the temperature outside.

The animal’s heartbeat and breathing slow down, too. This is when that stored fat that the animal packed on in the fall comes in handy. This stored fat lasts longer because their bodies are slowed down so much that they don’t need much energy. This is how the animal makes it through the whole winter on the fat it has stored in its body. This is why it's important for animals to get enough food stored in the fall. If there is a shortage of food at that time, the animal might not live until spring when it can find its food again.

Some of these hibernators also store food in their caves and burrows. The ones that do this do not sleep straight through the winter. They wake up once in awhile, walk around a little, and eat before they go back to sleep.

Which animal does it?

Warm blooded animal

  • Badgers
  • Bats
  • Chipmunks
  • Dormouse
  • Fat-tailed lemurs
  • Ground squirrels
  • Hamster
  • Marmots, groundhogs, woodchucks
  • Hedgehogs
  • Nighthawks
  • Poor-wills
  • Prairie-dogs
  • Raccoon
  • Skunks
  • Swift
  • Bears
Cold-blooded animals
  • Bees
  • Earthworms
  • Frogs and toad
  • Lizards
  • Mud turtles
  • Snails
  • Snakes
***Cold-blooded hibernators begin hibernation when the cold weather causes their body temperatures to drop. Cold-blooded animal temperatures stay the same as the air temperature around them. If it is 50 degrees outside, the lizard is around 50 degrees. If it is 110 outside, then they are about 110, too. Cold-blooded hibernators will wake up when the air outside warms or cools enough for them to be comfortable.

Lizard hibernation

**Every animal hibernates in a different way.

Sources: Hibernation-Wikipedia,hibernation;projects by student for student

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