Let’s face it: winter stinks. Between freezing temperatures, snow, ice and short days, there’s nothing more we’d love to do than hibernate until spring arrives. (Does binge watching Netflix under the covers count as hibernating?) Many animals avoid the winter blues by sleeping through the season, such as skunks, bees, snakes and, of course, bears. Though sleeping for months at a time may sound boring or very appealing, some animals do some incredible things while hibernating!
1. Animals can survive without oxygen during hibernation.
During hibernation an animal’s body temperature drops, the heart rate lowers, and breathing can be undetectable, slowing down to around 20 beats per minute.
2. Animals don’t dream during hibernation.
Even though these animals are sleeping for months, they don’t have dreams. They are too cold to produce the electric currents in their brain responsible for dreaming.
3. Bears can give birth and even nurse their young while “hibernating.”
We’re not sure how this works, but it must be nice to wake up from a deep sleep and have the hard part over with!
4. Snails are built to hibernate in their own shell.
Yes, even snails hibernate. They burrow underground and go into their shell. Before they start their deep sleep, they seal their shell opening with a chalky, slimy excretion that hardens and keeps moisture in while keeping predators out! A small hole lets in air. Snails use almost no energy and require zero food in order to live.