When the short, cold days of winter descend do you ever wish you could hibernate until spring? For those lucky enough, they can jet off to warmer climes to avoid the British wintertime but for the rest of us, it would be lovely to curl up in the warm and sleep until the warmer weather arrives. Maybe you love winter? But these animals don’t and they decide to wait it out in deep slumber. Hibernation is nature’s clever coping mechanism for when food is scarce and conditions are harsh. Here are some animals who hibernate:
Squirrels – most ground squirrels will hibernate for up to 9 months of year and enter light hibernation for a few days at a time at other times in the year as well. They dig extensive tunnels underground and even have separate areas for sleeping, storing food and going to the toilet! They know when it’s time to hibernate by chemical changes in their blood. We might not be able to hibernate but we can make sure our homes are warm and cosy this winter. Check your boiler is in tip top condition before the cold weather arrives. For Boiler Installation Gloucester, visit http://www.hprservicesltd.com/gloucester-boilers/boiler-installation-gloucester/
Bats – these fascinating flying mammals have been around since the days of the dinosaur and it may have been their hibernation habits that saved them. Their hibernation sleep is so deep that they look dead and their heart rate drops from 400 beats per minute to a mere 25. A bat can also slow down its breathing so much that it only needs to take one breath every hour! Bats can be seen hibernating in hollow trees, caves, mine shafts and attics.
Bears – probably the most famous of hibernating animals, bears don’t actually hibernate that deeply. They enter into a torpor, which is a sleep that is easy to be woken from. A bear will only enter a torpor during winter when it lives in a very cold area. A torpor can last for 6 months during which time they don’t feed and rarely need to go to the toilet. Luckily for the females, they give birth and nurse their offspring during this torpor time. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Hedgehogs – these little creatures go into hibernation anywhere between a few weeks up to 6 months at a time. They have the ability to drop their heart rate by 90% but will wake up if their body temperature drops too low. Waking up will raise their heart rate, warming their bodies and enabling them to then go back into deep sleep. Hedgehogs are unique in that they also go into a sleep when it gets too hot as well. This is called estivation and they like to do it when temperatures soar uncomfortably. Who can blame them?
Bees – some bees do and some bees don’t. Honey bees don’t hibernate but huddle together in a colony waiting out the winter and living on food they’ve collected during the summer. Bumblebees do hibernate and although most in a colony will die, the queen bee survives in hibernation so as to start a new colony when the spring arrives.