March 9, 2013
True Hibernation vs. False Hibernation
Hibernation is when a mammal has a low body temperature, slow breathing and heart rate, and low metabolic rate. A ground squirrel hibernates in their dens. These dens allow them to sleep for a long time. They rarely wake up. Their hearts beat about 1-2 times per minute. Ground squirrels actually sleep through the entire cold winter. Their body temperature dips down so low that there body is only a couple degrees warmer than outside. It could reach below freezing. These animals prepare for this five to six month period the rest of the year. Hibernation is the animal's way to adapt to thing. Compared to ground squirrels, who hibernate in dens, and other true hibernators however, the hibernation arrangement of bears is only a sequence of long naps. Since the body temperature of bears remains high and their breathing remains at a normal rate, their winter naps can easily be bothered or woken up. Some bears even wake up during their winter nap and search and walk around for hours, occasionally possibly days. Therefore that makes bears mammals that are not true hibernators. In conclusion, false hibernation is a way for the larger mammals to stay warm throughout winter without having to do all the things the smaller ones do. It is not the same thing as true hibernation because their body temperature only drops a couple of degrees. Although they are very different mammals do whatever they can to survive the tough winter.
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