What is Hibernation?

Hibernation is like a deep sleep that some animals enter during the winter to survive the cold weather and lack of food. During hibernation, animals slow down their body processes. Their body temperature drops, their heart rate slows, and they breathe less frequently. This allows them to save energy and live off their stored fat until food is plentiful again.

Which Animals Hibernate?

Many kinds of animals hibernate. Here are a few examples:

  • Bears: Perhaps the most famous hibernators, bears curl up in caves, dens, or burrows and sleep through the entire winter.
  • Groundhogs: Also known as woodchucks, these furry creatures hibernate in burrows underground.
  • Bats: Bats hibernate in caves or hollow trees, hanging upside down while they sleep.
  • Hedgehogs: These small mammals hibernate in nests made from leaves and grass.
  • Some kinds of frogs and turtles: They hibernate underwater, and some can even survive being frozen solid!

How Do Animals Prepare for Hibernation?

Animals start preparing for hibernation long before winter arrives. During fall, they eat extra food to store fat that will sustain them through the winter. Some also collect food to store in their den.

Hibernation is one of nature’s coolest tricks. It allows animals to survive in harsh conditions when food is scarce. So next time winter rolls around, remember that many animals are snuggled up, taking a long, cozy nap until spring arrives!