Can You Identify All of These Animals That Hibernate?

By: Valerie

Did you know that black bears can be found in North America only? Because they are the smallest bear species on the continent, they are great climbers and are often photographed scaling trees.

These fluffy and short-legged creatures are as not cute as they seem to be. Badgers are carnivorous species and have the reputation of being the most fearless and vicious of all mammals.

There are around 1,100 species of bats worldwide. By the way, that's a quarter of the world’s mammals! Only in the US, there are 40 species of bats - the only mammals with wings capable of real, long flight.

The brown bear is the most common and widely distributed bear in the world. Huge and dangerous, brown bears are solitary animals who are well known for winter hibernation.

There are thousands of species of butterflies that can be found on almost every continent except Antarctica. Butterflies are truly unique, beautiful creatures with compound eyes that can see ultraviolet light.

Moths are usually known as dull, useless pests, but these insects are surprisingly diverse. There's much more to these misunderstood insects than meets the eye - for example, most of them can impersonate other animals, while some moths are important pollinators.

Small and cute, chipmunks are well known for their extensive burrow systems and love of nuts. What a lot of people overlook, though, is that chipmunks, despite their small size, can significantly damage lawns, yards, houses and entire farms.

Bears are exceptional species. Unlike many mammals, bears can see the world in color and have an excellent sense of smell, better than even dogs or any other mammal.

While there are over 5,000 frog species worldwide, each one is unique and has a special call that can be heard miles away. A frog’s call is loud and unique to its species.

One of only a few poisonous lizards in the entire world, the Gila monster is a big creature native to the United States and Mexico. At a length of two feet and a maximum weight around five pounds, the Gila monster is the largest lizard that can be found on this continent. As its name suggests, the Gila monster has one of the worst reputations among the reptiles.

Grizzly bears are large, dangerous animals, but not everybody knows that around 75% of their diet consists of berries, plants or nuts. On the other hand, grizzly bears have an exceptional sense of smell - better than any dog - and can detect food from miles away.

Unlike bears and other light hibernators (also known as torpors), hedgehogs sleep the whole winter, from October/November through to March/April. When they are asleep, their heartbeat drops almost 90%!

Don't panic if your pet hamster is not moving for a few days. Most likely, it's not dead, it just gets into light hibernation during winter for a week or just a few days.

What animal is it?

Thanks to the iconic movie "Groundhog Day," we all know the occasional meteorologist and full-time groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Because of the famous resident of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, each year groundhogs enjoy a few minutes of fame and recognition.

There are more than 30 species of mice in the world, but most people have seen only the most common one - a house mouse, which is also a popular pet variety. Interesting fact: Their tails can grow as long as their bodies!

It's hard not to love tiny ladybugs. They are cute and harmless with their bright red shells with black spots. In many countries, ladybugs also symbolize good luck, especially if it lands on your hand or lives in your home.

Jerboa is a cute jumping rodent, usually found in hot deserts. These adorable creatures that look like anime hamsters are able leapers. They mostly live in North Africa and Asia.

Painted turtles are one of the most beautiful varieties of pond turtle that can be found in North America, hence the name. They are relatively small but have eye-catching, colorful shells as well as bright yellow stripes on their legs.

Raccoons are ever-adaptable animals that feel themselves equally comfortable both in the wild and in our backyards. Trash-diving yet exceptionally intelligent, raccoons can cause a lot of troubles for homeowners.

Slow worms are reptiles that look like snakes. While they look somewhat dangerous, they are absolutely harmless and even fragile. They can bite, but they are not venomous.

Cold-blooded and extremely flexible, snakes can be found on almost every continent except Antarctica. Contrary to the popular belief that snakes are always dangerous, only 375 species of snakes out of 2,900 are venomous.

Everybody knows that skunks can release a powerful smell through their anal glands when threatened, but do you know why they disappear during the winter? Unlike other animals listed here, skunks do not enter a full state of hibernation. Instead, they hide in a burrow and enter a state of torpor – a deep sleep from which they awake from time to time through the winter.

The Devils Hole pupfish is one of the world's rarest and most intriguing fish. Since 1967, it was listed as endangered, and only a few years ago the captive population of pupfish was returned to its natural habitat, the waters of Devils Hole in Nevada.

Wasps are related to bees and ants, but they are also completely different. Unlike bees, wasps - but only females - can sting repeatedly. Despite this, wasps are very important insects that also benefit people.

Squirrels are widely distributed rodents. While there are more than 200 species of squirrels around the world, only a few of them, such as the Arctic ground squirrel of Alaska, hibernate during the winter.

A large rodent native to North America, the woodchuck spends almost half the year in hibernation (usually from November to April). It's a true hibernator whose body temperature changes to 38°F during the winter. Also, when asleep, a woodchuck breathes only once in 5-6 minutes.

Tiny brown frogs with dark lines that form a letter X on their backs, spring peepers and their loud, recognizable call symbolize the end of winter in the US as well as some parts of Canada.

Wild turtles need to hibernate to survive, while captive tortoises and pet turtles don't. However, annual hibernation periods increase chances of breeding success for any turtle and is generally very important for these species.

The wood frog lives in many areas around the glove, including Alaska and even above the Arctic Circle. How do they survive? Thanks to hibernation! These amazing creatures can freeze but not die - when it's freezing outside, the wood frog buries itself and goes into a deep hibernation for two or three months.

Even though gila monsters are downright dangerous, they are sometimes kept as pets in the US. While it's not an “easy” pet that requires little care, a lot of people still claim that gila monsters are very compassionate and devoted pets.

Most people think of bears as big, dangerous creatures, but they are so much more than that. Most of them become aggressive only when threatened or when they are trying to protect their babies. Many species of bear won't attack even when they or their cubs are in danger.

Most snails hibernate when it's cold outside, usually from October to April. What's interesting is the way they hibernate - when the temperature drops, they cover their bodies with a layer of mucus and start using the stored fat in their bodies. Then, snails bury themselves in the ground and close off the entrance of their shells.

When hibernating, turtles don't move or breathe, but they still need some energy to remain alive. Most turtles, especially vegetarian ones, are exhausted after spending the long winter hibernating and they are very slow to awaken.

Did you know that the decapitated head of a dead snake could still bite, even a few hours after its death? These bites are often the most dangerous ones since they contain big amounts of venom.

There are three different types of bees - Queen, Worker and Drone. Among them, only the Queen can lay eggs (more than 1,500 eggs per day!), while the worker bees are all female and do all the work. The drone bees are all male and their main goal is to find a queen to mate with.

We all know the famous groundhog Phil who predicts the spring every year. However, in reality, the average groundhog can live only up to 6 years, so nobody really knows how many groundhogs have actually played the role of famous meteorologist Phil.

Hummingbirds are tiny yet extremely beautiful and colorful birds which measure only around 8–13 cm in length. Nowadays, they are pretty rare, but can be still found anywhere from from southeastern Alaska to southern Chile.

When it becomes cold, bats have a choice- they can either hunker down and hibernate or migrate to warm areas where they can find their favorite food - tiny flying night bugs or ripe fruits.

A lot of people are afraid of skunks, but not everyone knows that most skunks give a clear warning before spraying. Some of them stamp their front feet, while others lift their tail, growl, or even spring into a handstand to show their intentions.

Technically, these small bright creatures with dark spots should be called lady beetles because they are not bugs at all. What's the difference? First of all, they have chewing mouth parts just like other beetles. Moreover, beetles have harder wings than bugs do and eat plants, fruit or wood, unlike bugs that mostly have a liquid diet.

Commonly known as “field mice," these tiny rodents are easy to recognize. Their most eye-catching characteristic is a bi-colored tail, which is dark but becomes lighter at the bottom.

Wood frogs are unlike other species and are easy to recognize thanks to their eye-catching black "robber's mask" that extends from ears to front legs. Usually, they can be found in ponds, but when wood frogs are not breeding, they sometimes migrate away from water and live in the forest.

Birds usually do not hibernate, but the common poorwill is a great exception. When winter arrives, this small bird goes into a hibernation-like state known as "torpor." During this period, it can slow its metabolic rate and drop its body temperature.

These cute, rabbit-size rodents live on North America's prairies, hence the name. They are well-known for building long and complicated underground burrows, extensive tunnels and hidden chambers.

Hamsters that live in the wild are used to hibernation, but domestic pet hamsters can even die from exposure to cold temperatures or dehydration. That's why hamster parents should keep an eye on their beloved pets and use some tricks to get hamsters out of hibernation.

Ready for winter, the striped skunks usually become dormant, but they do not hibernate. Settled in their den, they will slow down, becoming inactive. During the very coldest part of the winter, they don't leave their dens at all and just eat and sleep most of the time.

While snails are relatively small and harmless, they can sting people just like bees and wasps. Most stings occur on the hands and fingers after handling a snail. While snails are popular pets, their stings can be very intense and even dangerous.

Not all bats hibernate. Those that do tend to live at high latitudes where insects disappear during cold months. During this dormant period, that can last for months, bats can be found in caves or clustered on ceilings.

There are different kinds of bees, from aggressive killer bees that chase and sting people to the queen bee that just lays eggs (but can also sting when in danger). In general, there are around 20,000 known species of bees in the world.

Different hummingbirds spend the winter differently. Some of them put on heavy winter coats, some hibernate for three or four months or undergo an overnight metabolic change known as "torpor." Others just migrate to warmer climates where their favorite food is more available.

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Image: TriStar Pictures

About This Quiz

Hibernation isn’t as simple as going to sleep - it always involves certain changes for animals. Their body temperature changes, their breathing slows and their metabolic rate drops.Contrary to the popular belief, not only bears hibernate during the winter - take this quiz and see how well you know your wildlife.

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