What is Hibernation?

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What is Hibernation?
Hibernation refers to a time wherein some animals go through a period of inactivity and prolonged rest. This activity is usually done during the cold months of winter where there is scarcity of food for some animals. During this time, the animal involved will literally rest for several days, weeks, or even months.

Animals are able to hibernate by decreasing and/or halting their basic activities. Resting for prolonged periods will result in a decrease in the metabolic requirements of their bodies and so these animals will also be able to lower their body temperature and make their breathing slower. In this way, hibernating animals are able to conserve the food that they have already eaten. Much of the food is converted into fat and by means of decreasing the body’s metabolic activities, less of this fat will be used up during the winter months. Through hibernation, these animals hope that enough food stores will be available for the whole duration of the cold months.

Common animals that go through a period of hibernation include bears, bats, ground squirrels, marsupials, and insectivores among others. Duration of the hibernating period depends on the animal species with some lasting only for a few days while others taking several weeks. All animals hibernate as a means of survival in the wild. Hibernation is part of their life cycle and these animals need to go through them at some point in their lives to be able to survive. Knowing that it has to go through another bitter winter, a hibernating animal will stock up on food resources on the weeks preceding winter. For hibernating animals, it’s basic logic that dictates them to store food on warmer months as they won’t be able to find much food in the winter months. Hibernation basically represents the period of rest after several months or weeks of hard work in terms of hunting for food.

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