When the temperature begins to drop around the end of fall, we as humans tend to go into our own form of hibernation. We avoid going outside, and rather than opening our doors we burrow ourselves underneath layers of blankets and pull up Netflix for hours on end. In many ways, animals do this too. Animals that know how to hibernate obviously don’t have the luxury of watching Netflix, or knitted blankets for that matter. With that said, they have their own unique techniques on how to stay warm when it no longer becomes safe for them to roam about freely.
The wood frog is very unique in its ability to pretty much pose as being dead when it goes into hibernation. It’s not uncommon for icicles to grow off of its skin, and also to slow its heartbeat down to just a few beats a minute. This is pretty common for most amphibians who hibernate though. They essentially freeze themselves outside, and once the temperatures come back up, they thaw out and continue on with their lives.
Ground squirrels however go about hibernation in a very different way. Rather than hibernating for long periods of time, they go into what is called torpor, or a light hibernation for just a few days at a time, but will go into torpor several times a year. Ground squirrels obviously make full use of the Earth by digging tunnels and creating rooms to store their food in. Very human-like! They even dig themselves bathrooms! However, unlike frogs who will quite literally freeze their insides, squirrels remain full-functional.
So now after finding out about how some animals handle the harsh winter, it’s pretty interesting when you look at humans. Obviously we share some of the same traits and realize that cold weather makes it very difficult to go outside. With that said, it’s important to make smart decisions as to how much energy we use when we hibernate. Animals will literally shut their bodies down whereas humans will consume large amount of energy indoors. This is why eco-friendly apartments are so attracting. Even if you stay indoors for large periods of time, you will only use up a fraction of the amount of energy that you would otherwise.