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Hibernation

Shhh! Be quiet everybody! We don't want to disturb this hedgehog, as she is getting ready to sleep through some cold months ahead! And yes, it is Ranger Wild here – but as you know I'm very loud and would disrupt the wildlife, so I've sent some of my silent (and spooky) friends to report back to base with their findings.  

For most animals, finding food in winter can be difficult when their favourite things, like insects or green plants, are in short supply. Some animals solve this problem by hibernating.  

Hibernation is like a really extreme deep sleep that helps animals survive the long cold winter without doing much eating, drinking or moving. The animal's body temperature and heartbeat drop, while its breathing slows down. This allows it to save energy.  

The animal gets ready to hibernate by eating more food and storing extra body fat during the warmer months, which it can live off throughout the cold months without losing any muscle. Some animals will wake up at different times throughout their hibernation to eat some of their stored food or pass waste. They’ll then return to their deep sleep. 

Hibernating animals include wood frogs, chipmunks, bats, skunks, squirrels, and hedgehogs, just to name a few. Squirrels can drop their temperature to -2℃ during hibernation, and wood frogs can produce a natural antifreeze that stops them from freezing solid. Now that’s cool! 

It is a mistaken belief that bears hibernate during the winter. While bears do tend to slow down during the winter, they actually enter a different state called denning. This means that their heart rate is extremely low, but their body temperature is relatively high, allowing them to wake up much more quickly. 

Would you look at that! I even learned something today. Now I'm even smarter than I thought, haha!

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Increase your knowledge by completing these activities.

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1.  A BAT ONCE HIBERNATED FOR 344 DAYS!
2. DURING HIBERNATION, THE HEART RATE FOR MANY ANIMALS SLOWS TO LESS THAN 10 BEATS PER MINUTE
3. THERE ARE ALSO TROPICAL HIBERNATORS THAT HIBERNATE TO HIDE FROM HEAT