Hibernation and Food

Topics: Hibernation, Torpor, Winter Pages: 3 (808 words) Published: April 15, 2012
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When the season is changing and it is getting colder, you know that winter is coming. Animals, which are able to migrate , fly to the south to spend the winter in warmer places. What if you are an animal who is not able to fly to sunny Spain during the cold winter months? You gather a lot of nuts, find a nice den to lie in, curl up into a ball and sleep through the winter, but is that all there is to it? The common name for this event is hibernation, but scientists call it torpor or deep sleep. It is a way for animals to live in an area where during several months of the year the conditions are inhabitable for them due to food scarcity or extreme temperature change. When the conditions improve and the temperatures are up to their living standard, they can continue with their normal activities . To be able to understand completely what hibernation is it is necessary to explain the three different types of torpor. The three different types of torpor are long-term torpor or hibernation, summer torpor or aestivation and daily torpor .

Hibernation or long-term torpor is an animal’s ability to adjust to cold winter temperatures and the short supply of food during these months. The animal does this by lowering its body temperature to a minimal in order to preserve energy and to slow down its metabolism . The body temperature of most animals will degrease to as low as 1˚ or 2˚C. Before the animal can start hibernating, he needs to collect food. The storage of food is essential for the animal to survive the deep sleep. This allows them to remain alive for a very long time on small supplies of energy stored in the body fat or from the food, they hoarded in their burrow. Some animals, like squirrels, do not sleep the whole time. They awaken every week or two for a couple of hours to warm up to about 37˚C so they are able to maintain their burrow. The reheating of the body costs a lot of energy. To do that multiple times during the...
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