What Animals That Hibernate?

Hibernation is an amazing physiological feat that is necessary for animal survival. Bears are the animals most known for hibernating, but they aren’t the only ones. Turtles, snakes, wood frogs, and groundhogs are other animals that engage in some form of hibernation, torpor, or estivation.

1. Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemur – can hibernate for periods up to seven months.

The fat-tailed dwarf lemur is the only primate known to engage in a combined hibernation and torpor state for an extended period of time.

2. Box Turtles – can sleep for about three or four months.

As reptiles, turtles are ectothermic, meaning that they can’t produce their own body heat and instead receive heat from the environment. To save energy, it’s important for turtles to brumate when temperatures start dropping.

Indiana eastern box turtle

3. Groundhogs – are known to hibernate for months.

Traditionally relied upon to predict the weather, groundhogs (or woodchucks as they are also known) are true hibernators. The hibernation period can last up to five months, and during that time, a groundhog will lose as much as a fourth of its body weight. 


4. Common Poorwill – means ‘the sleeping one’.

The common poorwill has the distinction of being the first documented hibernating bird. “Common Poorwill”. Audubon. Reduced food supply and harsh temperatures cause the common poorwill to hibernate. 

5. Hedgehogs – can make nests as much as 20 inches thick.

Toward the end of autumn, hedgehogs enter a state of torpor. In preparation, they look for the best places to build their nests, usually in a big pile of leaves or underneath old buildings or sheds. Hedgehogs tend to awaken during hibernation, as often as every two to four days, or as infrequently as once per month.

6. Wood Frogs – The heart of a wood frog stops beating when the creature is hibernating.

If it’s late winter or early spring and you find a frog that’s not moving, it might be a hibernating wood frog. During hibernation, the wood frog’s heart actually stops beating and 35 to 45 percent of its body becomes frozen.

7. Snails – Snails hibernate any time the weather reaches an extreme.

Not all snails hibernate, but when they do, it’s an interesting process. Snails hibernate any time the weather is extreme: in hot weather, when the process is known as estivation, and in cold temperatures. Since they come equipped with a built-in hibernation spot, they are ready for all weather conditions.


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