Why Do Some Animals Hibernate? (know with Images)

A bear is motionless and silent, curled up in a large, fluffy ball. It is snoring loudly every now and again while breathing quite slowly. It appears to be taking a nice long nap. Actually, it’s engaged in another activity. It’s not quite asleep, but it’s also not quite awake. It is sleeping.

What exactly is hibernation if it’s not sleep, then? Why do certain animals go into hibernation? Do they favor spending the winter curled up under a blanket? They hate winter sports, do they? Or are they merely slothful? Let’s investigate further to find out.

A Tool For Saving Energy

Even though sleep is accompanied by physiological changes (such as reduced breathing and heart rate), it is not nearly as profound or dramatic as that takes place during hibernation. An animal’s metabolism slows down dramatically while it is hibernating. 

Its heartbeat slows, its breathing becomes more labored, and its body temperature falls—in certain severe cases- below the freezing point of water (zero degrees Celsius). The reason animals hibernate is that by slowing their metabolism, they can store energy.

Animals classified as ectothermic have body temperatures that fluctuate with the outside temperature. Contrarily, endotherms can control their own body temperature by producing internal heat (by combusting fuels). 

Endotherms are people. In daily speech, we frequently distinguish between “warm-blooded” species, such as mammals and birds, and “cold-blooded” animals, such as snakes and lizards. Since some fish, reptiles, and insects are fully or partially endothermic, this distinction can be confusing.

Being ectothermic has certain benefits, such as reducing the amount of energy expended on maintaining body temperature and reducing the number of nutrients required. Ectotherms, on the other hand, are more dependent on their surroundings. 

For instance, a lizard can only recover from a cold spell if the heat from an external source, such as the sun, is provided. In contrast, endotherms have the ability to warm themselves up through various means, such as shivering and metabolic heat production. 

What, Who, And When?

Many of us have a tendency to picture bears cuddling up for the winter, such as the well-known American black bear, when we think of a “typical” hibernation image.

They overindulge in the summer months, accumulating up to 13 kg a week of foods like carb-rich berries, as many other hibernators do. 

They also prepare a particular den lined with leaves and twigs, called a hibernaculum if you want to get technical.

When winter arrives, bears hibernate in their dens for up to 100 days without eating, drinking, moving, urinating, or fecating. They awaken, feeling a little lighter but otherwise unharmed.

Some experts hypothesize that this could mean that hibernation existed before a common evolutionary branch separated (resulting in monotremes on the one hand and marsupials on the other).

They contend that the ability to hibernate is an old mammalian trait that may have developed from the ability for seasonal dormancy in reptiles.

In this article, we have discussed why, who, and when some animals hibernate. To know more such answers, you need to visit the website daily.

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