Hibernation is a fascinating behavior that many animals use to survive harsh winter conditions. During hibernation, animals slow down their physiological functions and conserve energy until better conditions arise.
Some animals can even go up to 10 minutes without taking a breath. Hibernation is not just sleep; it is a state of minimal activity and metabolic depression undergone by some animal species.
In this article, we will provide a full list of all types of animals that hibernate, based on the search results. Learning about the different species that hibernate helps us protect them and their environments, and it could even help uncover new medical treatments for metabolic disorders.
A Full List Of All 24 Types Of Animals That Hibernate
Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks or whistle pigs, are medium to large-sized rodents in the Sciuridae family. They are one of Pennsylvania’s most widely distributed mammals.
Groundhogs spend the warmer months eating to build up the fat layers they need to survive a winter in hibernation. They create deep dens to keep them protected as they sleep away the winter.
Groundhogs hibernate from October through February, and this timing depends on geographic location. During hibernation, their breathing and heart rate decrease, and they can lose more than half of their body weight. Groundhogs do not eat during hibernation.
While hibernating, a groundhog’s body temperature drops from about 99 degrees Fahrenheit to as low as 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
Groundhogs are typically active until the first real frost of winter, often October or November, and then they crawl down into their burrows and begin to hibernate.
Ground squirrels are a type of squirrel that live in underground burrows and are found in many parts of the world. They are known for their ability to hibernate, although the extent of their hibernation varies depending on the species and location.
Ground squirrels in the southern San Joaquin Valley become much less active during the winter, but seldom truly hibernate. Arctic ground squirrels, on the other hand, hibernate for about eight months out of the year to cope with the harsh winter weather.
During hibernation, ground squirrels’ body temperature drops, and they lose weight. They do not eat or drink during hibernation, but they may wake up occasionally to forage for food.
Ground squirrels are light sleepers during hibernation, and they may leave their burrows on warmer days to forage for food. The Arctic ground squirrel spends from 7 to 9 months in hibernation, and its body temperature can dip to as low as -3 °C.
Bats are fascinating creatures that are known for their unique ability to fly and their important role in controlling insect populations. During the winter months, bats face a challenge as the cold weather drives insects away, limiting their food supply.
To cope with this, bats must choose to either hibernate or migrate to warmer areas with more abundant food supply. Some bat species hibernate, some migrate, and some do both.
During hibernation, bats enter a state of “torpor,” which involves an extreme reduction in metabolic rate, heart rate, and respiratory rate that allows them to survive long periods of time without food. A bat’s heart rate drops from 200-300 beats per minute to 10 beats per minute, and it may go minutes without taking a breath.
The bat’s body temperature can also drop to near freezing, depending on the temperature of the bat’s surroundings. Other bodily functions also slow down, which reduces energy costs by about 98%.
Bats may enter torpor even when they are not hibernating, such as when they are roosting during the day. During hibernation, bats need roosts that are cool and remain at a constant temperature, and they often move into underground sites, such as caves.
Salamanders are a type of amphibian that can be found in many parts of the world. During the winter months, salamanders face the challenge of finding a way to survive the cold weather.
Most salamanders hibernate during the winter, although the extent of their hibernation varies depending on the species and location. Salamanders hibernate in burrows, crevices underground, under logs and leaf litter on the forest floor, and in rocky crevices.
Antifreeze forms inside the wood frog’s cells in preparation for hibernation, creating a thick liquid. Ice forms between the cells without harming the frog. While frozen, the wood frog’s heart is completely stopped.
Most frogs hibernate buried in the mud at the bottom of the pond, and they get the oxygen they need by absorbing it through their skin from the surrounding mud.
Ectotherms like frogs, salamanders, snakes, and turtles are highly sensitive to changes in their environment and need to stay warm by actively. Eastern Red-backed salamanders are known to hibernate with their mate.
Hedgehogs are one of the few mammals that are true hibernators. During hibernation, hedgehogs drop their body temperature to match their surroundings and enter a state of torpor, which allows them to save a lot of energy but slows down all other bodily functions, making normal activity impossible.
Hedgehogs usually hibernate from October/November through to March/April. Research has shown that each individual is likely to move nesting sites at least once during this period and so can sometimes be seen out and about. While in hibernation, the hedgehog’s fuel supply comes from the fat stores it has built up over the summer.
Eating enough before hibernation is vital, and this is when supplementary feeding can prove important to hedgehogs. Any disturbance during this period can be extremely dangerous, as hedgehogs use up their energy reserves quickly when they are disturbed.
Hedgehogs are known to hibernate in a variety of places, including log piles, under sheds, in compost heaps, or manmade hedgehog houses.
Frogs are fascinating creatures that have developed special behaviors and physical processes to survive the long, cold, and snowy winter. During the winter, frogs face a major problem because it’s too cold for them to be active, so they need to find somewhere to wait it out.
Frogs use two strategies to deal with environmental extremes: hibernation and estivation. Terrestrial frogs normally hibernate on land, while aquatic frogs usually hibernate underwater and spend the winter at the bottom of a pond or other body of water.
Frogs do not burrow down into the mud to hibernate, but they can be found hanging out on the bottom just above the mud. During hibernation, a frog’s metabolism slows dramatically, so it can “sleep away” the winter by utilizing its body’s energy stores.
When spring weather arrives, the frog “wakes up” and leaves its hibernaculum. Frogs and toads are cold-blooded, so their body temperature takes on the temperature of the environment around them.
During the winter, they go into a state of hibernation, and some can be exposed to temperatures below freezing.
Turtles are fascinating creatures that have developed special behaviors and physical processes to survive the long, cold, and snowy winter.
Unlike other cold-blooded animals, turtles do not hibernate. Instead, they slow their body processes down without sleeping. However, some turtles, such as the Eastern Box Turtle, undergo a process called brumation, which is a winter cool-down that allows the turtle to survive when food is scarce.
During brumation, turtles slow down their metabolism and become less active, but they remain conscious and can move around if necessary. Freshwater turtles hibernate in water, as their body temperatures remain relatively stable throughout the winter.
Turtles cannot survive freezing, so they need to find a place where the water temperature will not go below freezing. Brumation is fueled by colder nighttime temperatures paired with decreasing daylight hours, and it usually occurs around October/November and lasts until early spring.
While pets kept indoors may not experience brumation because of the lack of environmental change, brumation is a necessary process for reproductive and overall health.
Ladybugs are tiny, colorful insects that are known for their distinctive spots and their ability to eat aphids and other plant-eating pests. Ladybugs are most active from spring until fall, but when the weather turns cold, they look for a warm, secluded place to hibernate.
Ladybugs undergo a method of hibernation called diapause, where they find a warm environment and rest while the temperature is cold. During diapause, ladybugs can regulate their body temperature and metabolism to survive the winter months.
Ladybugs can hibernate in a variety of places, including rotting logs, under rocks, and in leaf litter. Ladybugs are also known to gather in large groups during the winter months, which can help them stay warm and survive the cold weather.
However, if ladybugs wake up from hibernation too early, they may find no natural aphid snacks available and can starve to death. Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of ladybugs during the winter months and provide them with a safe and warm environment to hibernate in.
Snails are fascinating creatures that have developed special behaviors and physical processes to survive the long, cold, and snowy winter. The duration of hibernation for snails is from 4 to 6 months, usually starting from the middle of October to the beginning of November.
Snails undergo a method of hibernation called diapause, where they find a warm environment and rest while the temperature is cold. During diapause, snails can regulate their body temperature and metabolism to survive the winter months.
Snails can hibernate in a variety of places, including under rocks, in leaf litter, and in compost heaps. Snails adjust their activities and sleep habits based on the environment. If the weather is too hot or too cold, they’ll either hibernate or estivate.
While snails do sleep, it’s not very much, and they sleep in bouts, not in a 24-hour cycle like most animals. Snails can hibernate for periods of up to three years, which seems like an incredible amount of time, but this is caused by less-than-ideal conditions.
Bumblebees are social insects that play a vital role in pollinating plants and crops. During the winter months, bumblebees face the challenge of finding a way to survive the cold weather. Unlike honeybees, bumblebees do not maintain colonies over winter.
Instead, newly mated queen bumblebees hibernate until spring, safely tucked underground. Hibernating bumblebees are all potential queen bees, which will hopefully go on to make nests in spring. Bumblebees hibernate in small nests in the ground, known as hibernacula, which are 5 to 15 cm below the soil surface.
For safety, the tiny opening is often obscured by mulch or leaf litter. During hibernation, bumblebees can regulate their body temperature and metabolism to survive the winter months.
Finding hibernating bumblebees can disturb them, and it’s important to be mindful of them during the winter months and provide them with a safe and warm environment to hibernate in.
Chipmunks are small, burrowing rodents that are found throughout North America. During the winter months, chipmunks face the challenge of finding a way to survive the cold weather.
While chipmunks do not hibernate in the traditional sense, they do undergo a process called torpor, which is a state of reduced activity and metabolism that allows them to conserve energy during the winter months. During torpor, chipmunks’ body temperature drops, and their heart rate and breathing slow down.
Chipmunks can wake up from torpor to eat stored food or to move to a different location, but they quickly return to torpor to conserve energy. Chipmunks prepare for winter by gathering and storing food, such as nuts and seeds, in their burrows.
Chipmunks’ burrows are complex structures that can be up to 30 feet long and have multiple chambers for sleeping, storing food, and waste. The typical period for chipmunk torpor lies between October and the middle of March, depending on the location and weather conditions.
The Common Poorwill is a small bird that is native to western areas of Canada and the US. It is famous for being the first known hibernating bird. During cool weather, the Common Poorwill may enter a torpid state, with lowered body temperature, heartbeat, and rate of breathing.
During hibernation, the Common Poorwill will hide in a hollow log or in a patch of grass. The birds’ temperature can drop to as low as 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and their rate of breathing can slow down. The Common Poorwill’s hibernation period can last for weeks or even months under natural conditions.
The breeding season for the Common Poorwill is from early May to early September. Common Poorwills typically inhabit dry, open areas, including desert, grasslands, and open forests.
They require a combination of rocky ledges or canyons and open, shrubby areas. These nocturnal birds hunt from the ground, looking up into the sky and flying up to grab prey.
Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs
Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs are a type of primate that is endemic to Madagascar. They are the only primate known to hibernate, and they can hibernate for up to seven months.
During hibernation, the fat-tailed dwarf lemur enters a state of torpor, which is characterized by a severely decreased metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. Unlike animals that hibernate in temperate regions, the lemur does not control its body temperature.
Recent research has shown that the fat-tailed dwarf lemur hibernates (or aestivates), even though in the tropical winter of Madagascar, temperatures remain high. However, the Malagasy winter is dry, and it appears that the lemur is avoiding the drought.
Because most dwarf lemurs will hibernate inside of tree holes or underground in order to remain hidden from predators and to regulate their body temperature. The fat-tailed dwarf lemur’s hibernation period is longer than any other primate, and it is the first tropical mammal in which hibernation has been demonstrated.
The study of hibernation in fat-tailed dwarf lemurs could help scientists understand the fundamental and largely unknown roles of sleep in humans and could also help unlock the potential of human hibernation.
Deer mice are small rodents that are found throughout North America. They are nocturnal creatures that primarily live in deep nests in tree holes left by woodpeckers or natural knots in trees.
Deer mice are known to take over bird nests (or create their own), not for means of shelter or to nurse offspring, but rather to serve as a spot for grain storage during the winter.
Deer mice do not hibernate in the winter, but they save energy by reducing their body temperature when in their burrows. They continue to forage, even under the snow, and they utilize different types of nests to be comfortable in the winter and not freeze to death.
Deer mice weigh only 20 grams, so it comes as a surprise that they don’t hibernate in the winter. The key to their winter survival, like most other species, is energy economy.
Box turtles do not hibernate in the traditional sense, but they undergo a process called brumation, which is a winter cool-down that allows them to survive when food is scarce. During brumation, box turtles slow down their metabolism and become less active, but they remain conscious and can move around if necessary.
Box turtles typically burrow deep under the soil and leaves, sometime in October, and usually emerge in April or early May. Hibernation is not a time of cozy sleep, but a dangerous time when bodily functions are barely keeping the box turtle alive.
The heart rate slows, digestion stops, and the turtle cannot voluntarily move or even open its eyes. Although hibernation is essential for a normal healthy life, many wild and pet box turtles die during this period.
In the wild, box turtles will begin in early fall to search for a protected place to spend the winter. An ideal site may be in the south face of a hill that is easy to dig into and above water level.
Skunks do not hibernate in the traditional sense, but they undergo a process called torpor, which is a state of reduced activity and metabolism that allows them to conserve energy during the winter months. During torpor, skunks’ body temperature drops, and their heart rate and breathing slow down.
Skunks mostly huddle in their dens for warmth during the winter months. Skunks enter torpor during extreme cold or excessive snowfall. In this state of deep sleep, the skunk will wake up from time to time, but during the coldest part of the winter season, they will stay huddled in their dens and become pretty inactive, eat very little, and sleep quite a bit.
Skunks do not accumulate and store food for the cold winter months, but they do burrow in their dens during especially cold spells.
Skunks lose about 30% of their weight over the winter period. Skunks can be active in the winter at almost any time of day, and they can burrow in their dens during especially cold spells.
Arctic ground squirrels
Arctic ground squirrels are a species of ground squirrel native to the Arctic and Subarctic of North America and Asia. They are the only ground squirrel species in Alaska. Arctic ground squirrels are obligate hibernators and spend 7 to 8 months in hibernation.
During hibernation, their lungs, heart, brain, and other organs drastically slow down. Arctic ground squirrels are the only warm-blooded animal known to endure subfreezing body temperatures, and while in hibernation, their organs, including the heart and brain, are supercooled. They hibernate for about eight months out of the year, starting in September and ending in April or May.
Arctic ground squirrels hibernate in underground burrows, which can be more than a meter beneath the tundra. They curl up in nests built from grass, lichen, and caribou hair.
During hibernation, their core body temperatures plummet, dipping below the freezing point of water. Electrical signals zipping along crisscrossing neural highways vanish in many areas of the brain.
Eastern chipmunks do not hibernate in the traditional sense, but they undergo a process called brumation, which is a winter cool-down that allows them to survive when food is scarce. During brumation, chipmunks slow down their metabolism and become less active, but they remain conscious and can move around if necessary.
Chipmunks typically burrow deep under the soil and leaves, sometime in October, and usually emerge in April or early May. While in brumation, chipmunks do not eat or drink, but they may wake up occasionally to forage for food.
Chipmunks prepare for winter by gathering and storing food, such as nuts and seeds, in their burrows. Chipmunks’ burrows are complex structures that can be up to 30 feet long and have multiple chambers for sleeping, storing food, and waste.
The typical period for chipmunk brumation lies between October and the middle of March, depending on the location and weather conditions.
Brown bears in the coldest parts of Alaska hibernate through the winter, which can last from five to eight months. Brown bears enter a winter resting period usually between October and December. They usually find or dig a den which they may use for several consecutive years.
Before winter sets in, the bears cushion their dens nicely with grass, leaves, ferns, moss, and lichen. Brown bears are not ‘true’ hibernators like, for example, hedgehogs, but they do undergo a process called torpor, which is a state of reduced activity and metabolism that allows them to conserve energy during the winter months.
Although the frequency of their heart rate and breathing slows down, the bears are easily woken and are able to defend themselves in the case of attack.
Before their winter rest, bears must eat enough to form a decent layer of fat since they lose around a third of their body weight during this sleeping phase.
Black bears do not hibernate in the traditional sense, but they undergo a process called torpor, which is a state of reduced activity and metabolism that allows them to conserve energy during the winter months. During torpor, black bears’ body temperature drops, and their heart rate and breathing slow down.
Black bears typically enter torpor in the fall and emerge in the spring. Black bears are now considered highly efficient hibernators. They do not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate during torpor, but they can wake up occasionally to move around or to give birth.
Black bears prepare for winter by eating a lot of food in the fall to build up fat reserves. They may also build a den or find a suitable place to rest during the winter months. Black bears are not true hibernators, but they do experience a period of reduced activity and metabolism during the winter months.
Short-beaked echidnas are a type of monotreme that are found in Australia and New Guinea. They are known to undergo a process called hibernation, which is a state of reduced activity and metabolism that allows them to conserve energy during the winter months.
The hibernation period for short-beaked echidnas varies depending on the location, but it usually begins in February or late January and ends at the beginning of the breeding season. During hibernation, echidnas will dig into the ground and cover themselves with soil to protect themselves in places with no cover.
If unable to cover themselves completely, they will anchor themselves in the ground with their spines radiating outward for defense. In Tasmania, echidnas hibernate, and the males enter hibernation in late January, when the weather may be quite mild, seeking out the coolest areas.
Short-beaked echidnas undergo both torpor and hibernation, expressed to different extents in different climates. Reproductively mature echidnas do not mate every year, and in non-reproductive years, males may hibernate until late September and females as well.
Alpine marmots hibernate during the winter months, which can last for about six months. During hibernation, they dramatically lower their body temperature and survive on their body’s storage of fat and water.
The hibernation phase lasts about 200 days from the beginning of October and ends in early April. The exact time may vary from one year to another and from one location to another.
Alpine marmots hibernate in underground burrows, which they have dug themselves. They huddle next to each other and lower their heart rate to five beats per minute.
The energy for hibernation is stored as fat predominantly in white adipose tissue. To increase the energy of these reserves, the alpine marmot’s diet, which is primarily herbivorous, is high in foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
During hibernation, the alpine marmot’s body mass changes drastically from one season to another. Before hibernation in the fall, the average weight of males is 4540g and that of females is 4355g. In the springtime, the average weight of males is 3000g and females is 2900g.
Common garter snakes are a type of reptile that are found throughout North America. During the winter months, they undergo a process called hibernation, which is a state of reduced activity and metabolism that allows them to conserve energy.
Common garter snakes hibernate from late October through March or early April. They can be found basking on rocks during mild winter days. In the south, they do not hibernate at all. Prior to hibernation, they eat a lot to store body fat in the end of the summer to prepare for the dormancy.
During hibernation, they do not eat or drink, but they can wake up occasionally to move around. Garter snakes can be hibernated in relatively small containers without many ventilation holes. A high humidity and a slightly moist substrate is important to ensure that the snakes do not dry out.
Wood frogs are a type of amphibian that are found throughout North America. During the winter months, they undergo a process called hibernation, which is a state of reduced activity and metabolism that allows them to conserve energy.
Wood frogs hibernate from late October through March or early April. They can be found close to the soil’s surface, under leaf litter or just under the substrate. During hibernation, they do not eat or drink, but they can wake up occasionally to move around.
Wood frogs have adapted to cold climates by freezing over the winter. During this time, they stop breathing and their hearts stop beating. Their bodies produce a special antifreeze substance that prevents ice from freezing within their cells, which would be deadly.
Ice does form, however, in the spaces between the cells. When the weather warms, the frogs thaw and begin feeding and mating again. Wood frogs are able to withstand the freeze-thaw cycle of Midwestern winters, baffling biologists for years.
1. What is hibernation?
Hibernation is a state of reduced activity and metabolism that allows animals to conserve energy during the winter months.
2. What animals hibernate?
Many animals hibernate, including groundhogs, bears, chipmunks, woodchucks, bats, and some species of snakes, frogs, and turtles.
3. How long do animals hibernate?
The length of hibernation varies depending on the species and location. Some animals hibernate for a few weeks, while others hibernate for several months.
4. Do animals sleep during hibernation?
During hibernation, animals are not in a deep sleep, but rather in a state of reduced activity and metabolism.
5. Why do animals hibernate?
Animals hibernate to conserve energy during the winter months when food is scarce and temperatures are low.
6. Can animals wake up during hibernation?
Some animals can wake up during hibernation to move around or to forage for food, but they quickly return to hibernation to conserve energy.
7. How does hibernation benefit animals?
Hibernation allows animals to conserve energy and survive during the winter months when food is scarce and temperatures are low. It also helps them avoid predators and conserve water.