Why hibernate?

Many of the animals we know tend to hibernate. The exception is animals whose metabolism is fast enough. These include, for example, shrews. In this article we will look at why animals hibernate, what processes occur in the body during an animal's hibernation, and what types of hibernation exist.

What is hibernation

Hibernation is a state of stupor in an animal, similar to sleep. This reaction has been forming for millions of years as a response to the changing climatic features of the environment. Due to the fact that during the temperature fluctuations could come drought or frost, and there was simply no food, the animals learned to reduce calorie intake, hibernating.

Preparation for hibernation

Different animals prepare and hibernate in different ways. For example, bears accumulate nutrients throughout the year. Their task is to collect a million kilocalories before the onset of winter. Rodents, on the other hand, try to dig deep tunnels that can reach under the ground for many meters.And often rodents prepare for hibernation by families and spend it also together. Most of them stock up entire stores of provisions.

As for the birds, many of them also prepare for hibernation and during the year prepare supplies, build a nest, which can be located in the hollow of a tree or a cave and even a hole. Moreover, the birds select a place for hibernation so that it is as protected as possible from predators. The very hibernation of birds is short-term, diurnal.

Physiological processes

During hibernation, the animal's body temperature drops. In some of them, it can be reduced by 10 times. Among the fish, there are often those that hibernate during the freezing of reservoirs. In this regard, their body temperature drops to zero and even -5 degrees Celsius. This is possible due to glycerol-like impregnation in the tissues. Glycerin does not allow the formation of ice crystals that can damage the cells of the fish.

Note that among many animals there are those whose body temperature is not subjected to strong changes. Otherwise, they could just die.In bears, the hypothalamus is responsible for maintaining a constant body temperature during hibernation, which differs from normal by several degrees. This part of the brain triggers a special mechanism that burns subcutaneous fat.

Types of hibernation

There are several types of hibernation.

  1. Daily allowance. Characteristic of bats, as well as some species of birds. This type of hibernation is necessary in order to save the expenditure of daily energy.
  2. Seasonal hibernation. It is divided into winter and summer.
    • Hibernation lasts throughout the cold season. However, it is not uncommon for animals, having consumed their store of calories, to wake up before the end of winter.
    • Summer hibernation, respectively, occurs during the dry months.


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