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7 Hibernating Animals in Danger

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7 Hibernating Animals in Danger

Just like disturbances wake you up, they wake up the animal kingdom — often with dire results.

Hibernation, simply, is a state of inactivity in animals. It is typically characterized by a drop in metabolic activity—a physical slowing of the body—in addition to lower body temperature and slower breathing.

Indeed, hibernation is a sleep deeper than most humans could imagine, but it is not impervious to interruption. Increasingly, changes brought into nature by the modern world are unsettling hibernating animals during a time of the year when they are most vulnerable.

European Hedgehog

One animal that truly hibernates is the European hedgehog. Though hibernation periods among animals vary from a few days to a few weeks, most settle down during winter, when normal food supplies are limited.

To survive this long period of inactivity, animals must spend the rest of the year building fat reserves that can supply energy during hibernation.

Some research has shown that changes in snowfall, spring precipitation, and ambient temperatures—brought on by climate change—can have an impact on the behavior of hibernating animals.

The danger, researchers have said, is that such environmental changes will cause animals to rise from hibernation before sufficient snow has melted, leaving them stranded in a food-less habitat in an already calorie-depleted condition.

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8:16AM PST on Dec 29, 2011

Thanks

1:24AM PST on Dec 29, 2011

So sad, the negative impact we humans have on so many other species that share the Earth with us. I always feed the hedgehogs here, they are so cute! And, I had no idea that ladybugs hibernate - bizarre. Learn new things everyday :)

6:07AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

This made me cry, poor sweet animals...

2:49AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

the article is sad and educating

9:51PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

sad

7:37PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

very interesting, thanks, but I didn't really like the picture of the rattlesnake.....but its sad to know how much life is in danger, even if I don't appreciate them....

5:26PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

If it were a slower process, we could rely on species adapting to their habitats, but with as fast as global warming is developing, we're sure to do a ton of damage to everything living on our planet ... in our lifetimes no less.

5:12PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Thank you.

3:39AM PST on Dec 25, 2011

Thanks!

4:03PM PST on Dec 24, 2011

OOH..Bless their little hearts! We must help!

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