Definition of Hibernation and Examples of Hibernating Animals

What is hibernation? Hibernation is something familiar. This hibernation is the process of an animal in surviving.

Hibernating animals will look like they have died. After all, they were just sleeping. Hibernation is done in some time.

It all depends on how the weather conditions in the area around which the animal lives. Despite sleep, hibernation is certainly different from sleep in general. What’s the difference?

This article will discuss what hibernation is. Starting from understanding, process to examples of animals that hibernate.

What Is Hibernation?

Another purpose of this hibernation is so that you don’t have to look for food in winter. Also, not having to migrate to a warmer place is also one of the reasons for hibernating.

Through hibernation, living things will not use their metabolism in conserving energy. During the hibernation process, some parts of the body will drop to a lower level. Such as heart rate, body temperature and respiratory rate.

Those things will drop to a much lower level. Generally, hibernation is done by animals. Animals that do hibernation live in winter, because of the cold weather and scarcity of food.

Hibernation is a fairly profitable way. The reason is, these animals can really close themselves. This was done for weeks.

Instead of trying to live and survive in extreme weather conditions, they will prefer to hibernate. Animals or plants that hibernate are called hibernators.

Hibernation function

One of the functions of hibernation is to save energy. The energy that is in for will be saved for a certain period. Especially when there is no longer enough food available to survive.

To achieve an energy saving, an endothermic process occurs. Endotherms are animals or animals that have a high body temperature, and are fixed and are not affected by the air temperature around their environment. At first, this endothermic process will lower the metabolic rate first.

This will then result in a decrease in body temperature. The hibernation process can occur within a certain time. Like in a few days, a few weeks or even a few months.

The length of the hibernation process depends on several things. What kind of species, how the temperature of the environment, what time of year and how the body condition of the hibernator itself.

Hibernation Process

The animal will do a hibernation phase to store fat reserves. These fat reserves will be stored in their bodies. This will allow them to adapt to winter, or a season where the climate temperature is lower than usual.

In slowing their metabolism, animals will cool their bodies to an average of 5°C to 10°C. Hibernators love quiet, dark winter homes. Some will go into caves or underground.

They’ll probably line the place where they hibernate with things. Like using grass, hair, or other materials that will make them feel comfortable. The hibernator’s body will respond to weather conditions.

If the weather around becomes colder than before, then the animals will move to raise their body temperature. Meanwhile, animals that do not do this are threatened with death. The warmer temperatures will tell the animals to come out of hibernation.

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There are some animals that appear to eat when the hibernation process takes place. Then they will continue to hibernate until the weather around them returns to normal.

In fact, after waking up from hibernation these animals will need some time to adapt to their environment. This was done before they resumed their normal activities.

Some argue that hibernation is a sleep that resembles death. The reason is, during hibernation the heart rate will slow down. As well as several non-vital organs that become completely inactive. Moments like that are conditions where the body will use minimal energy.

Then, what is the difference between hibernation and sleep? Check out the explanation below.

Difference between Hibernation and Sleep

Hibernation is a different thing from sleep. Many animals conserve energy in winter. They prefer to sleep more.

However, these animals do not actually hibernate. When an animal goes to sleep, its body temperature doesn’t drop too much. In addition, the presence of noise or other disturbances can also wake sleeping animals.

The metabolism of hibernating animals will slow down. In addition, their body temperature will decrease.

Animals that are classified as mammals will eat a lot in autumn and summer. They will store fat for use throughout the winter. While hibernation is different from sleep in general, it is only one of many ways for animals to sleep, rest and survive their surroundings.

How Do Animals Eat During Hibernation?

True hibernators will be able to drastically reduce heart rate. Not only that, body temperature will also decrease when they decide to hibernate. Examples such as squirrels.

Squirrels can reduce their heart rate. When hibernating, their heart rate will decrease from 350 beats per minute, to only about 4 beats per minute. Squirrels do this while hibernating.

True hibernators only fully awaken every few weeks. They will eat some of the stored food. Then they will poop.

These animals can drastically lower their body temperature. Lowering body temperature even below freezing, or salty body fluids can work to prevent tissue crystallization at very cold temperatures.

Examples of Hibernating Animals

There are several examples of animals hibernating. Are as follows:

1. Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel ( Citellus lateralis )

Normally, they hibernate from 3 months to 4 months. They will consume food quickly. This will make them gain weight. at the time before hibernation begins, in October.

2. Some Insects

3. Bats

They will live in groups in large enough numbers when winter arrives. The bats will hang down and up with their wings and tail. They will cover her body.

The goal is to keep the body warm. Their body temperature will drop. It would make them look like they were dead.

Bats will hibernate for 7 months. In October to be precise, until April. They will only wake up once a month.

Bats will build up all the warmth during the hibernation process. The trick is to make a mock hole the size of their thumb.

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4. Frog

Woodland frogs are found under feces and under leaves. During winter, they will freeze. However, when spring comes they will melt again and wake up.

5. Snake

The holes made by the snakes can be found around the rocks. In addition, it can also be found in hidden pits and old well bottoms.

6. Beetle

That’s because they will eat a lot of aphids and pollen. Then, they would hide inside a building. In addition, their hiding places are under logs, mounds of leaves and rocks.

7. Bear

This is because bears do not show a significant decrease in metabolism. The temperature of his body is also fairly normal. Bears don’t actually hibernate.

They just go into the hole. These holes can vary. Such as river banks, caves and wooden basins. They only slightly lower body temperature and slow heart rate.

However, it can be argued that bears do not actually hibernate. The bears are just entering the torpor period. That can be said by sleeping temporarily, and being able to get up and take a walk in the surroundings.

The little cubs that are still young are also in the hole during the winter. Bears will eat at the end of the rainy and hot season. This is done as an effort to store fat.

Done before they get into the hole. When spring returned, the bear became very hungry and emaciated. In female bears, it will spend the winter in a burrow if they are about to give birth soon.

Hibernation performed by this bear is unique. Implementation lasts from 3 months to 7 months. It is characterized by a body temperature that is close to normal.

Others say that bears actually hibernate. As spring through autumn ends, the bears will eat much more than usual. It is intended that they have fat deposits.

This eating habit is known as hyperphagia . Bears can eat anything. Starting from fruit, fish, insects, grass, roots, even other small animals. They can eat as much as 45 kg of food in a day.

This makes the added weight per week reach 15 kg or 30 pounds. Bears will make nests under large trees. Apart from that, other places where he makes nests are like in tree holes, under waterfalls and in cave openings.

Making the bear’s nest is somewhat complicated. The process can take from 3 days to 7 days. Then they would cover the nest with spruce branches. Air pockets at the base of the nest are also intended to trap heat energy.

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That’s the explanation of what hibernation is.