Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hibernation



Sometimes I wish that dogs could hibernate during the winter because it would be nice to just sleep through all the snow and cold stuff and then wake up when it was warm again in the spring.  Mom thinks it would be nice for people to be able to hibernate for the same reason.  But dogs and humans can't hibernate, so I guess we will just have to stay in our warm houses when it's cold outside.

Anyway, what happens when animals hibernate is that they go to sleep, and their body slows down a bunch, and their heart beats slower, and they breathe slower, and everything inside them gets slower.  Which makes the temperature of their body go really low.  Then they sleep for  several days or several weeks at a time.













Here are some of the animals that hibernate:

1.  Bats
2.  Ground squirrels
3.  Rodents
4.  Hedgehogs
5.  Mouse lemurs
6.  Western diamondback rattlesnakes

This is not a complete list, but it gives you the basic idea.


Here's a picture of a mouse lemur.  It's the smallest type of lemur, and it lives in Madagascar, which is where all lemurs live unless they are in zoos.  We have some ring-tailed lemurs in the zoo in Kansas City.  Mom thinks they are really cute, but maybe not as cute as meerkats.  Anyway, the ring-tailed lemurs don't hibernate, but the mouse lemurs do.  I can't explain this.  I am just telling you what I read.


This picture shows a western diamondback rattlesnake.  I hope I never meet one in person because these snakes are very poisonous, especially for cute little dogs like me, so I would not want to be bitten by one.  I have heard of basenjis that got bitten by rattlesnakes and lived to tell about it, but luckily, we do not have many rattlesnakes in Missouri.  Mostly we have copperheads and cottonmouths.  I would not want to meet them either.  I hope they are all hibernating now, but I don't know if all those snakes hibernate or not.


The most famous hibernator is the bear.  Except that it turns out that bears don't really hibernate.  Bears do what some people call "denning," which means that they spend most of the winter in their dens and do a lot of sleeping.  Actually, some dogs and humans do this during the winter, too!  But anyway, when bears are sleeping during the wintertime, their body temperature does not go as low as the temperatures of animals that do real hibernation.  And it's pretty easy to wake a bear up while it's denning, but it's probably not a good idea to do that because it might make the bear mad and then it would eat you.

One thing I was shocked to read about bears is that they have an even better sense of smell than dogs do.  I find this hard to believe, and I think I will have to do more research on this so-called "fact."  But right now I need to do some denning for a little while.

4 comments:

  1. The only name you left off the hibernation list is: "YOUR AUNT PATTY!!" :) Those rattlesnakes are a species I DON'T care to meet either. When I lived in CA (northern) for a few years, I had a friend who lived in an area that had many many rattlesnakes; in fact, when they went to get their mail, they carried a gun!! JEEZ!! The first time I went to their house....I drove up as close to their front door as I could! After that, any visiting was done at MY house!!
    Love, AP

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  2. I was told once by an avid hunter that animals, i.e., dear, etc., will go into an "auto-hibernation" if they are wounded...helps them heal. I have NO idea if this is true or not...but any kind of hibernation sounds good to me! :)
    Love, AP

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  3. Dear Aunt Patty,
    I think if an animal is wounded, it goes and hides someplace so it can lick its wounds without its mom making it wear one of those stupid cones. Hahahaha! At least that's what I'd like to do, except Mom always finds me because there are not enough secret dens in our house.
    Love, Piper

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