Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Animals Hibernate?

When most people think of hibernation they picture bears. Yet bears aren’t true hibernators; their long nap is more properly called winter lethargy. A true hibernator, like a chipmunk, can reduce its body temperature to nearly freezing during hibernation and change its heart rate from 350 beats per minute to as low as 4 beats per minute within hours of retiring to its den.

The heart rate of a bear also drops, though not as rapidly. During the early part of its winter dormancy, a bear’s heart rate averages 50 beats per minute. After several months of uninterrupted sleep, the rate may drop to as low as 8 beats per minute. But a bear’s body temperature remains nearly normal during this period. That’s the reason a bear ... Read the entire article.

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