We, as humanoids, have the privilege of adjusting our lifestyle, adventures and living conditions so to accommodate our own needs and standards of living during the upcoming frosty winter season.
Some of us pass the time by reading good books, taking up a new hobby or spending more time with family.
Some of us hunker down by a warm fire. We embellish ourselves with holidays and cheer. We increase the consumption of warm liquids like hot chocolate, coffee and teas to stay warm. We bundle up with our favourite sweaters, long johns, toques, scarves and mitts.
The active population in Canada takes it one step further and embraces the outdoors during the winter by skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, ice fishing and watching the Northern Lights.
How lucky are we!
But… what about the wildlife… what are they doing during the snow months? Some, like humans, leave for warmer climates and some hunker down and brace themselves for the winter. The ones that stay for winter prepare for winter long before its arrival.
Winter is a time of metamorphosis for many species of wildlife. Some wildlife reduce their body temperature, heart rate while others alter their physical appearance and living conditions. Here are a few survival skills of Canadian wildlife to ponder and consider.
- some wildlife accumulate fat for energy and lower their respiration and heart rate and sleep away the winter. Black bears, skunks and raccoons are such animals.
- some wildlife adjust to winter temperatures by adjusting their heart rate. For example a woodchuck breathes once every 5 minutes.
- some wildlife store food to last the winter like red squirrels, chipmunks, chickadees and owls.
- some wildlife hunker down and take a winter nap. Did you know bumblebees, snakes and chipmunks bundle up in dens and holes to sleep away the winter.
- some wildlife stay in a developmental stage during winter. Moths, crickets, butterflies and grasshoppers cocoon in the winter.
- some wildlife freeze and thaw during the winter like the wood frog.
- some wildlife adjust to winter temperatures by adjusting their body heat like fish. By lowering their metabolism their body temperature changes.
- some wildlife like beaver and deer stick it out during the winter and survive by eating bark off trees since the ground is frozen.
- some wildlife have a group hug to stay warm. Honey bees cuddle up together in a big ball in the middle of their hives.
- some wildlife hide under the snow, dig tunnels, like mice.
- some wildlife like moose and deer migrate to the forests where there is less snow on the ground making it easier to move and eat.
- some wildlife have bodies which adapt to winter. The arctic fox, ptarmigan, and weasel enjoy a white coat of fur therefore camouflaging them making them better hunters and hiders.
- some wildlife enjoy a thicker fur coat keeping them warmer.
- some wildlife transform. A caribou’s hooves harden for winter travel. A lynx developers snowshoe like feet to stay above the snow.
More wildlife information available on Canada eh Travel & Adventure