Hibernating animals: which animals hibernate and what exactly does it mean when an animal hibernates? Here are all the details you should know. If nature fascinates you, ahibernating animalshould arouse your amazement, why? Not all animals hibernate the same way!
We humans have heating systems ... but animals? How do they resist the winter cold? The strategies are many. Some animals face longmigrationsto spend the winter where the climate is milder. For some animalsjust the fur but for others, who do not have the opportunity to travel thousands of kilometers to shelter, there is thelethargy. Yep, thelethargyit is a strategy implemented by some animals to survive the winter cold.
Broadly speaking, thelethargycan be described as aprolonged sleepwhich some animals resort tosave energy, avoid seasonal famine and take shelter in a safe place waiting for the summer.
During thelethargy, the body temperature ofanimalsis significantly lowered: the metabolism is kept to a minimum, the heartbeat slows down and conditions are created that allow the animal tosurvive without eating, using the fat reserves they have to support the basal metabolism. So hibernation isn't just like getting under the sheets! Animals simply do not sleep but they lower their energy consumption to a minimum and therefore fall asleep.
It seems a technicality but it is! You don't have to think that "an animal falls asleep and then hibernates "but if ever the opposite:"The animal hibernates and then sleeps".
Not all animals hibernate in the same way, some don't even sleep permanently.
Amonghibernating animalsin this period of winter, you will surely know the bear! The bear does not collapse into a deep sleep, does not practice a complete retreat: it is able to wake up in the hottest hours of winter and even come out of the den.
On the contrary, among theanimals that hibernatein a more "extreme" way, we quotemarmots and dormice.
The marmot is a real onesleepyhead, like the dormouse, it retreats to its den in autumn and comes out only in spring. Thelethargynot only lowers the body temperature to survive the cold, but also saves energy so as to avoid hunting in difficult conditions such as winter.
Animals that hibernate
Amonganimals that hibernatenot only mammals and warm-blooded animals are included. A good number of small animals hibernate. The cute toad can be heard croaking until late autumn but not beyond! The reason? It hibernates by taking refuge under a stone or in some well hidden crevice. Thelizardsthey hibernate even if, in Southern Italy, it is not uncommon to surprise them in the countryside, during the sunniest days! The lizards, when they hibernate, do not prepare their own lair but “steal” the den from some rodent, or take refuge in cracks in the walls or even in the sidewalks of the more “livable” urban centers.
Which animals hibernate?
Here is the list of animals that hibernate:
- Lizards (as well as many reptiles)
- Quercino mouse
- Brown bear
- Toads (as well as a good number of amphibians)
Thehamster goes hibernation?Yes, in the list ofanimals that hibernate in winteri also appearhamsters. If you have read the above carefully, you will understand that ihamstersthat you keep in captivity, at home,they do not hibernate.
So, when asked:hamsters hibernate? The answer is:in nature yes, when the hamster is bred in captivity, no!
Hibernation, in fact, is not marked by an autonomous biological clock, this “biological clock” is conditioned by temperatures, light conditions and other factors. When thehamsterit is kept indoors, where temperatures are constant throughout the year, thelethargydoes not trigger.
Does the squirrel hibernate?
As stated, hibernation is not the same for everyone! Thesquirrel does not go fulllethargy during the winter. It limits itself to alternating periods of prolonged sleep with periods of modest activity in search of food.