Collect animals information

Animals in winter: hedgehogs, dormice & co

Just sleep in all winter, leave the ice and snow outside and make yourself cozy - many animals spend the winter in a similar way. Because the icy temperatures outside are far too cold to survive, they have to come up with something else to survive the cold season

What do animals do in winter?

In autumn there is still a lot of activity: the animals collect hay, straw and leaves for the harsh winter and look for a quiet place. They then make themselves comfortable in caves in the earth or hollow tree trunks and use their spoil to build a comfortable nest in which they can survive the long winter.

Winter sleeper & rigid winter

Bats, marmots and hedgehogs all hibernate. And dormice are also very well known for their pronounced hibernation. In autumn they eat a thick pad of fat from which they can feed when they sleep through the winter in their cozy winter quarters. Then they fall into a kind of paralysis in which they no longer move.

Because they don't go looking for something to eat, they fall back on their own pantry, namely the fat deposits in the body. But they also have to be economical with this - after all, these fat reserves have to be sufficient until winter is over. Therefore, they drastically lower all of their bodily functions.

Hedgehogs, for example, typically take about 40 to 50 breaths a minute; during hibernation, they can get by on one or two in the cold. Your body temperature drops from 36 degrees to 1 to 8 degrees Celsius, and your heart beats only five times a minute instead of 200.

But even if everything runs on the back burner, they can survive well in the cold - because if they were more active, they would also consume more fat and the fat reserves would melt before the last ice and snow.

Hibernators often do not spend the whole winter in this rigidity; sometimes they also change places to sleep, give up urine and feces or warm up briefly. Because if their own body temperature drops too far, then they wake up so as not to freeze to death.

They then move a little and thereby get their fat burning going again so that they can continue to sleep undisturbed.

Winter rest with the animals

Not all animals oversleep the winter in their winter quarters like rodents or bats. Some also just hibernate. They are in a sleep-like state of rest, which is also interrupted more often. Squirrels, for example, eagerly collect beechnuts, acorns and nuts in autumn and bury them in the ground.

When they wake up from their hibernation and are hungry, they go to the hiding place and use their supplies. However, it is quite difficult to find all the treasures you have collected in the cold. As a rule, squirrels rummage through only part of their supplies, the rest remain in the hiding place until the next spring comes and bushes and trees grow from it.

Animals that hibernate are not quite as active as usual, because otherwise they would also use far too much energy. But they are awake more often than the winter sleepers, often change their sleeping position and go to their pantry.

How fish survive in rigidity

A thick layer of ice forms on ponds and lakes and you can no longer see what is going on underneath. Do the fish swim around just as lively as before? No, because the temperature of your blood falls with the outside temperature. They cool down and become sluggish.

When they have become very cold, they fall into a freezing cold (also called winter rigor), from which they only wake up in spring. That is why they look for hiding places and protected areas beforehand in order to survive this for a long time. Incidentally, it is the same with frogs: just like fish, they adapt their body temperature to their surroundings.

When it gets cold, they too become lazy and crawl into the mud of pools. There they can survive the winter time motionless in the rigidity of the cold.