How Long Do Animals Hibernate (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 7 months

Many people think hibernation is equal to sleep. When an animal hibernating that doesn’t mean the animal is sleeping. Most of the time, the animals hibernate to save their energy by not doing any activities. During the time of hibernation, the heart and metabolism of the animals decelerate or slow down.

The body temperature of the animals would go down during the hibernating period. Most of the animals may freeze when they are hibernating. If the animal sees the weather becoming inhospitable, then it may enter the hibernation period. Food shortage is another big factor that would force the animals to hibernate.

The hibernation time would be different for all the animals. The hibernation period for the fish and mammals would be different.

How Long Do Animals Hibernate

How Long Do Animals Hibernate?

Animals HibernateTime
In months7 months
In weeks28 weeks

The main purpose of the hibernation process is to allow the animals to stay without food for a long time. The physiological changes during the hibernation process would make it different from sleeping. The breathing rate is extremely slow during hibernation. The turtles would not at all breathe when they are hibernating.

The heart rate of squirrels goes down when they are hibernating. The brain activity during the hibernation period would be extremely slow as compared to sleep. When the animals are about to rouse from hibernation, they will feel sleep-deprived. The animals would have to sleep for a long time to feel energetic or back to normal.

Hibernation can take around 7 months or less for some animals. Most of the animals start storing their food before entering the hibernation period. The animals would wake up in intervals to eat their stored food. Some animals get up to go the bathroom and give birth to baby animals.

The eating and drinking process is vital during the hibernation period for some animals. The animals need to eat something or else the metabolism process would use all the fats present inside the body. The fats of the body would be used during the metabolism process to decrease the body temperature of the animals.

The bears are exceptions who may hibernate without going to the bathroom. By recycling the waste product of the urine, the bear would not have to go to the bathroom. The bears may not go for drinking water as they use their body water for fulfilling water requirements.

Why Do Animals Hibernate For This Long?

The time would depend on how long the animals want to save their energy or are not getting enough food.  During the hibernation period, the predators may not smell or see the animals hibernating. The hibernating ways of all the animals are extremely different. The squirrels would start collecting nuts before starting the hibernation period.

The bears would eat a lot of food before starting the hibernation period. The animals would search for a cozy place to hibernate. There is no such guarantee that the animals would hibernate during the cold months.

The animals may hibernate when they find there is no food to eat. The cold or winter months require more energy. This is the reason why animals hibernate in the winter months.

The animals need very peaceful places or areas to hibernate. The animals won’t be able to hibernate in an area where the noise is too loud. Some animals start estivation during the hot months which is almost similar to hibernation.

The hibernation time would depend on the type of animals. The hibernation styles would be different for both snakes and bears.

Conclusion

The hibernation time would be completely different from the sleep period. The hibernation can happen for around 7 months without any interruption. Some animals will wake up due to eating their food and drinks.

These animals would again wake up for going to the bathrooms. Animals such as bears are capable of not waking up for the whole 7 months or more during the hibernation period.

References

  1. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/physrev.1955.35.2.403
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4419-8997-0_3
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