20 Animals That Hibernate Besides Bears
Bears aren't the only ones who sleep all winter.
It's easy to want to hibernate in your house until winter’s over. Unfortunately, humans can’t truly hibernate, but we’re totally jealous of the animals who can.
When you think of hibernation, you probably think of bears. But there are lots of other animals who do it, too.
Check out this list of animals that hibernate and what they actually do during hibernation.
What is hibernation?
Hibernation is a sleep state (aka torpor) when an animal’s heart rate, breathing and metabolism slow way down so they can stay warm and conserve energy. Some animals do this during cold weather months when food sources are scarce or dry seasons when there’s little water. With all their bodily functions slowed down, they’re able to survive for long periods of time without food by using up stored fat in their bodies.
Do bears hibernate?
Bears are the classic example of animals who hibernate, so you might be surprised to learn that their long winter sleep technically isn’t actually considered hibernating by some since their body temperature stays high.
Bears also don’t wake up from their torpor state as frequently as other animals. Bears can go around 100 days without waking up, eating or going to the bathroom!
However, bears’ bodily functions slow to around the same speed as other animals who hibernate, so their sleeping period is pretty similar.
20 animals that hibernate
Aside from bears, here are 20 other animals who hibernate. (The reptiles in this list technically do something called brumating, but it’s basically the reptile version of hibernation.)
4. Common poorwill
5. Ground squirrels
6. Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs
7. Deer mice
11. Land snails
13. Prairie dogs
17. Box turtles
18. Wood frogs
20. Edible dormice
What do animals do when they hibernate?
You might think animals are just taking an extra-long nap when they hibernate, but animals don’t actually sleep when they’re hibernating.
During hibernation, animals cool their bodies by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with some even getting below freezing temperatures!
And they don’t stay in their torpor state for the entire time. They periodically wake up to warm up their bodies, kind of like having a restless sleep.
Which animal hibernates the longest?
The winner for longest hibernation goes to the edible dormouse. They can hibernate for up to eleven months!
It’s wild to think about what happens when animals hibernate — animals are pretty amazing.