This time of year, to cope with the climatic changes they face, some animals hibernate and some migrate, while others stay put, growing thick coats and consuming extra food. Hibernation is one of the most intriguing methods animals use to survive cold weather. When an animal hibernates, its heart rate, body temperature and other life processes slow down, putting them into a kind of a “deep sleep.”
February’s favorite mammals, groundhogs, are popular hibernators, according to Geoff Westerfield, a wildlife biologist with the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
“Groundhogs hibernate nearly the entire winter,” Westerfield said. “They won’t reemerge until the first few weeks of February, when some signs of spring begin to show.”
During a groundhog’s hibernation — which lasts an average of five months — its body temperature lowers by almost half and its heart slows down from 160 to four beats per minute.
When outside temperatures drop dangerously low, skunks, raccoons, chipmunks, and opossums are known to go into a temporary hibernation.… Continue readingRead More »