Naturalist’s Corner – Animals Prepare For Winter!

Naturalist’s Corner – Animals Prepare For Winter!

Posted January 23, 2020

Written by Kyla Isakson

Photo of a groundhog, courtesy of

Before the harsh conditions of winter set in, animals prepare in a variety of ways. Some animals, like warblers, migrate to places that are warmer and have food more readily available. Whales migrate to warmer areas in winter to breed and give birth, and they return to colder waters in the summer to feed on the abundance of food available due to upwelling, which is when cold water brings nutrients to the ocean’s surface to support life.

Other animals stay in the same area to hibernate or hide away from the cold. Those that hibernate find warm and safe places to spend the winter resting. Groundhogs build underground nests; bats stay in caves; frogs, turtles, snakes, and snails slow their breathing and bring down their internal body temperature to reduce the amount of energy they use to stay warm. Animals that hide in dens and nests include several species of birds, some squirrels, and bees in hives.

Animals also have adaptations that change their physical appearance to deal with colder weather. Mammals might grow thicker fur to stay warm or light colored fur to avoid predators and better blend in with the snow. Birds fluff up their feathers to trap air close to their bodies, retaining heat.

(C) Wareham Land Trust ~ provided by New Bedford Internet