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Author Topic: Hibernation  (Read 216 times)

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« on: November 17, 2013, 11:39:28 pm »
10 Weird Facts About Hibernating Animals

Cherise Udell

November 14, 2013

Everyone knows bears and hedgehogs hibernate, but did you know that snakes, snails, frogs, turtles, bats, bees and a menagerie of other animals also find that hunkering down through the winter is a lot easier than migrating thousands of miles to some place warmer. Here are a few other facts about hibernation that may inspire you to grab a cozy comforter and at least huddle near your fireplace with a cup of hot coco. Too bad for you though, unlike the bear and the hedgie, you will have to get up tomorrow morning and face the day, no matter how cold!

1. Some hibernating animals will wake up for short spurts during the winter months to eat and relieve themselves. Other animals sleep through the entire winter without doing either.

2. European hedgehogs are deep winter sleepers and usually go through the entire winter without waking. By all outward appearances you would think a hibernating hedgie was dead — their feet, ears, and skin are all cold to the touch and their breathing is almost undetectable. Normally, a hedgehog’s heart races at a frantic 190 beats per minute, but during hibernation it slows to about 20 beats per minute. When outdoor winter temperatures fluctuate, a hedgehog’s heart will just beat a little faster to generate more internal heat or slow down to save energy. Outwardly, the hedgehog will feel cold, but inside it’s heart is toasty warm.

3. In preparation for winter’s deep sleep, a black bear can gain up to 30 pounds a week. I’m sure many humans are glad they don’t do that!

4. Animals in hibernation do have internal controls that prevent their core body temperature from falling dangerously low. The animal will awake if their internal alarm goes off warning that their temperature is too close to freezing. That must be a rude awakening, indeed.

5. Snails are built for self-contained hibernating. They burrow underground and withdraw into their shell. But before falling into a deep winter sleep, they seal their door with a chalky, slimy excretion that hardens and locks in essential moisture. A small air hole allows oxygen to enter, but still keeps predators out. In this hibernation mode, they use almost no energy and require no food to live. Some snails use this same technique to survive extended drought periods.

6. Different bee species have different mechanisms for surviving through harsh winters.  Honeybees will stop flying when temperatures dip below 50 degrees F. They instead huddle together in the center of the hive making what is known as a winter cluster. The queen bee is at the center, while all of the sister bees rotate through the cluster so that no bee gets too cold for too long. The cluster center will be about 80 degrees and the outer edges will be between 46 and 48 degrees. The colder the weather the tighter the cluster.  During this time, the bees also consume the honey stored in the hive which helps them produce essential body heat. On warmer days, bees will sometimes venture out to eliminate bodily waste, but they do not venture far (if temperatures dip quickly they may be fatally prevented from returning to the warmth of the hive).

7. Garter snakes like to hibernate together. In Canada, where winters get exceptionally cold, it is not uncommon to find hundreds and even thousands of garter snakes cozying up together for warmth. Although, I imagine feeling cozy is not easy when you are a cold-blooded animal. When spring arrives and the snow melts, all the snakes leave the hibernating den together, each seeking their own rock to finally bask in the sun’s returned warmth and glory.

8. Big brown bats can make it through the winter without eating, but they do need to wake up to drink. Their heart rate drops from the normal 1000 beats per minute to 25 beats per minute and they will take only one breath about every two hours.

9. There is only one known bird species that hibernates – the Common Poorwill. This little brown speckled bird finds a sheltered area and hunkers down for up to five months. It can stay solidly asleep for up to 100 days, but once it awakens it needs about seven hours to regain its normal body temperature.

10. The four bear species that hibernate (Brown, Asiatic, Polar and American Black bear) do not hibernate as deeply as other animals, such as the hedgehog, as their temperature only drops a little and they can fully wake up very quickly. Furthermore, mother bears actually work hard during hibernation as this is when she gives birth to her cubs and raises them for the first few months of their lives.


On a final note…

Does someone in your household bother you with deep hibernating-like snoring? Check-out what a black bear snore sounds like and then let us know in the comment section who is worse, your partner, parent or roommate or this sleepy black bear!


El viento sopla de donde quiere, y oyes su sonido; mas ni sabes de dónde viene, ni a dónde va;
así es todo aquel que es nacido del Espíritu. Juan 2:8


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Re: Hibernation
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2016, 10:04:00 pm »
Snowed in: How 6 Species Brave the Winter

A living Frogsicle. He even stops his HEART! :o

Full excellent article:   
El viento sopla de donde quiere, y oyes su sonido; mas ni sabes de dónde viene, ni a dónde va;
así es todo aquel que es nacido del Espíritu. Juan 2:8


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Re: Hibernation
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 07:28:42 pm »
Is That a Turtle Under the Ice?

By Lisa Feldkamp

Lisa Feldkamp is the senior coordinator for new science audiences. She loves all things citizen science and enjoys learning about everything that goes on four legs, two wings or fins. She has a PhD in Classical Literature and Languages from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and enjoys reading Greek and Roman literature or talking about mythology in her spare time.

January 30, 2017


Where are the turtles in cold months? ???

As ectotherms (or cold-blooded animals), turtles’ body temperature and metabolism are determined by external heat sources. When it’s cold enough outside, their metabolism slows down, so they aren’t active enough to forage.

Where do they go and how do they survive in cold winter weather? Turtle species exhibit a variety of incredible adaptations  :o that allow them to live through extreme weather conditions.

El viento sopla de donde quiere, y oyes su sonido; mas ni sabes de dónde viene, ni a dónde va;
así es todo aquel que es nacido del Espíritu. Juan 2:8


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