Wondering about wild grapes

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wondering about hibernation.

Just a couple of days ago, poor old Punxsutawney Phill was yanked out of his den and his hibernation and held up to see if he saw his shadowOf course he saw his shadow and there will be six more weeks of winter.   That is just fine with me, because the weather here has been pretty nice with highs in the 70's.  I can take six more weeks of that before the hot, hot summer gets here
Correction:  I was looking at last years results and this year he didn't see his shadow so Spring is around the corner.

Oh, got off the track a little.  I was going to talk about hibernation.  What is it?  Do any of you know?  I figured it was sort of a state of suspended animation and in a way, it is.  A warm blooded animal that truly hibernates is closer to dead than alive.  Their heart rates drop to only a few beats per minute and their body temperature drops very low.  The Arctic ground squirrel cools itself down to 27 degrees.  It has actually come up with a way to keep its blood from freezing.

Everyone has heard that bears hibernate and usually have their cubs during that time.  Just in case you think that you could then sneak up on them and take a peek, if you were to come within 50 feet of her den, her heart rate will spike and wake her.  Of course I suppose that just like humans, there will be some that are extra heavy sleepers and you could enter their den while they are sleeping.  Notice that I used the word "you" and not "me".

It isn't always the cold that sparks the hibernation process  but also drought or periods of low food supply.  Mammals are not the only ones that hibernate; lizards, snails, turtles, and fish will hibernate, even in warm weather when food is scarce.  Life has many tricks that it uses to maintain itself.  I prefer to hibernate on dreary, rainy days like yesterday and this morning.  Now you all have a great day, especially if you have come out of hibernation, you hear?


  1. Some of the state wildlife biologists have a research project that checks on the health of the local bears. The bears get darted in the fall and are collared with radio tx. Along about now when there's a foot of snow or better and temperatures are below zero, they will track down the den (usually a fallen fir tree) and open it up, take blood samples, nail and hair clippings and check on cubs, if any.

  2. Wil, I have heard about that and it seems to be in contrast to the article that read about them waking up. I guess they are like people, they are all different.

    Trouble, dang, I didn't know that you didn't get any rain over your way. I guess you need to move closer to the coast to get lots of rain.

  3. I'm gonna take myself and go right into hibernation if I don't soon see the sun. Just for one stinkin' day please? I always used to pooh pooh those folks that went south for winter. But now I'm seeing the wisdom of their ways. That's where the sun is. I do like snow, it's just that a need a bit more of the sun with it.

  4. Jill, I spend over 30 years in Pennsylvania and the winters were dark and dreary and long. Much prefer the longer sunny days down here even though the summer time has shorter days than up there. But that works, too.

  5. I will tell you who does not hibernate...Terlingua rattle snakes!

    I was confident they did and on the coldest morning one came by my tent to say Hi! :-(

  6. MsB, I bet it was moving rather slow. They like to sun themselves when the temperature gets low.