Wondering Why?

Why do Animals hibernate?

Why do Animals hibernate?
Some animals do hide themselves from the adverse conditions of the environment.Especially in winter, compared to the summer and spring seasons, they get less food, as it is very cold outside.  The ground may be frozen, and there will be less food available for them to survive.  Though the winter is short, the nights are so long that it is very difficult for some animals to tolerate the temperatures. Searching for food, they end up with an empty stomach, but a lot of energy gets used up in searching. So, in order to avoid freezing to death, they prefer to hide themselves from the surrounding cold. This method of hiding to stay alive is called hibernating.

By hibernating, these animals can survive the adverse conditions.  They reduce the needs of their body to the minimum extent.  This act of hiding reduces the body temperature of the animal, and decreases the heart beat so that energy is stored in their bodies during the time of food scarcity. Each animal has its own hibernation method. Squirrels sleep for 4 days and wake up once to have a little food, excrete and resume sleep.  Bears will stay still or inactive for about 7 months.  During this period they do not take in food, water or excrete anything.

The type of hibernation used to survive the hot and dry environment is called aestivation. Insects hibernate in winter by hiding themselves in a cocoon, or they exist as caterpillars all through the winter. This type of hibernation is called diapause. During the winter season some animals grow a layer of fat that protects them. Animals like the weasel and snowshoe hare adapt to the winter by turning white. Some mammals become more active in winter so that they adapt to the weather.

Animals hibernate if the days are less in fall, or if it is very cold outside.

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