Animals in winter
Animals in winter. Winter is the most stressful time of year in the north for most forms of life. The key hardships are a lack of food and cold temperatures. However, don’t let a reduction in activity appear as if there is nothing going on in the woods! A lack of food occurs for at least two reasons, both related to low temperatures. The first reason has to do with a reduction in active plant life. Plants, of course, are the sources of nearly all food chains. The second reason has to do with availability. For many animals, food sources are buried under snow or ice. Deep snow is not a problem for all creatures. To field mice, it is a protective layer against most predators. To predators, deep snow means a time of going hungry.
Specialized adaptation to winter involves exploring chemistry, physics, and animal behavior. Managing an energy budget is the key to survival. There are many ways to manage this budget, primarily through combinations of physical attributes (morphology, habitat, and behavior) and physiological capabilities (body chemistry and metabolic controls).
Winter is cold. There is snow on the ground. People live in warm houses. What do animals do? Some animals sleep all winter. It is a very deep sleep called hibernation. They need little or no food. Bears and chipmunks hibernate. So do frogs, snakes and even some bugs. Other animals stay active in winter. It is hard for them to find food. They may live in holes in trees or under the ground to stay warm. Deer, squirrels and rabbits stay active. Some birds fly south for the winter. We call this migration. They go to a warmer place to find food. Other birds stay here all winter. We can help by feeding them.