Groundhogs are true hibernators, surviving cold winter months by reducing their heartbeat and respiration in a deep sleep. When animals hibernate, their bodies’ fat is used up much more slowly. True hibernators include chipmunks, some bats, some ground squirrels, and frogs.
Contrary to popular belief, bears are not true hibernators. Instead, their bodies undergo torpor. In torpor, animals breathe a little more slowly and lower their body temperature by a few degrees. They sleep a lot but still wake on warmer days to forage. Skunks and raccoons are examples of animals that use torpor as a way to deal with cold temperatures.
Want to know more about how animals cope with the cold? Join educator Jenny Houghton for an afternoon of winter fun on Sunday, January 20. Click here to learn more!