When we think of hibernation, we normally picture a bear curled up in a ball, sleeping for months on end. In reality, hibernation is much more complex than it appears to be.
Hibernation is a result of fewer food sources.
It takes energy to do just about anything. This includes everyday activities such as walking, breathing, sleeping, and even natural bodily processes such as pumping blood, digesting food, and self-regulating body temperature.
To make up for this constant loss of energy, animals need to eat. Human beings have the convenience of grocery stores and restaurants on a year-round basis, whereas wild animals have to scavenge for their food sources.
Finding food in the summertime is considerably easier than finding food in the winter. In order to survive the winter months with little energy sources available, animals enter an inactive state, known as hibernation. This allows the animal to conserve energy and reduce the need for food.
Hibernating does not necessarily mean sleeping.
Given the similar physiological aspects, including reduced heart rate, breathing rate, and lower body temperature, it is easy to understand why so many mistake hibernation for sleeping.
However, during hibernation, these physiological changes are much more dramatic. For example, some animals only breathe a few times an hour and their body temperature can drop below freezing.
Hibernation is also characterized by reduced metabolism, which allows the animal to burn their energy at a significantly slower rate than normal.
Unlike the benefits of sleeping, animals often exhibit signs of sleep deprivation when they “wake up” from hibernation. This is due to their active brain wave patterns. Once they wake up, animals will often need to sleep for the next few days after hibernation in order to recover.
Hibernation is regulated by temperature or food.
Different animal species hibernate at different times, but the majority hibernate in the timeframe between September and April.
Some species base their hibernation schedule off the temperature. When the temperature starts getting colder, these animals start getting ready for hibernation by gathering as much as they can. When the temperature starts rising, they will come out of hibernation.
Other species know it is time based off the level of food available. Once food sources begin to dwindle, the animal will move the remaining food into their hibernation den.
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If you think you have a wild animal problem on your property, call the experts at Shumaker Animal Control to deal with the problem for you. Our experienced team will take care of the problem in a timely manner, ensuring that your home and pets are not in any danger.
At Shumaker Animal Control, we are a family-owned business who cares about the safety of you and your family but also about the well-being of the animals themselves. All of our trapping and control methods are humane, as we never try to hurt the angry or scared animal.