With short days, dark mornings and cold temperatures, our only way to escape is to go somewhere warm over the holidays. Wouldn't it be great if we could just sleep until spring? Ah, if only hibernation was for humans!
When food and water are scarce and the temperatures drop, the only chance of survival for some animals is hibernation: They put on fat in autumn and then sleep in cosy dens, while their body temperature drops and their heart and breathing almost comes to a stop to use a bare minimum of energy.
Some animals take long naps. Their sleep lasts days or weeks rather than months. There are some animals such as skunks and racoons which go into light hibernation. Squirrels spend the autumn months hoarding food, digging holes to hide nuts and then waking up about once a week throughout winter to empty the caches.
flickr | Jim Bauer