Hibernation – “A Long Winter’s Nap”

After consuming all the wonderful dishes which adorn most Thanksgiving tables and with stomachs full “hibernate” is a very welcome thought. To hibernate is to be inactive or in a dormant state or period. Although this sounds delightful after a large holiday meal, it is a survival mechanism for a number of species. When food is scarce or temperatures severe, a light sleep (torpor) or a deep sleep (true hibernation) is necessary for a species to survive.  Listed below are a few interesting sleep habits for some creatures;
Wood Frogs-They stop breathing, their heart stops, and ice crystals form in their blood, a woodland “frogsicle!”
Deer Mice-Huddling with their many mouse brothers and sisters during the day hours (torporlight hibernation period) which conserves energy, and then they can spend their nights searching for food which usually means anywhere humans live.
Common Poorwills- The only species of bird which goes into true hibernation, and sometimes when they are incubating their eggs.
Bats – True hibernators, appearing dead because of their ability to fall into a very deep sleep.  Their heart rate drops from 400 to 25 beats per minute and breathing slows down so much that they may not take a breath for up to an hour.
Hedgehogs – Are weather dependent hibernators. In cold weather, these creature’s heart rate drops down to almost 90 percent. If their body temperature drops too low, they wake briefly and let their waking heart rate warm their bodies up before going back into hibernation. In hot weather (estivation), they experience a period of “passing out,” to allow their bodies to cool down.