10 Surprising Animals That Hibernate

Black bears and turtles aren’t the only animals to bundle up when it gets cold.  From bees to hedgehogs, learn about how these 10 animals respond to freezing temperatures in the winter!

1.  Alaskan Wood Frog

Close-up of a Wood Frog on a leaf (Rana sylvatica)
(Photograph by Rana Sylvatica, Thinkstock)

In Alaska, these frogs don’t hibernate like our furry friends. Alaskan wood frogs can survive two thirds of their body being frozen solid. They are able to survive days, even weeks, without functioning lungs or a beating heart. High blood sugar levels allow these unique amphibians to stay frozen for up to eight months each year without damaging any of their internal organs.

2. Chipmunk

Close Up of a Fat Chipmunk with Bulging Cheeks
(Photograph by Merrilyanne, Thinkstock)

Unlike most hibernating animals, chipmunks are unable to store fat during hibernation. Instead, these little guys go nuts for the occasional snack of – nuts and seeds they eat to remain nourished throughout the cold winters.

3. Common Poorwill

(Photograph by Wikicommons)

The common poorwill is one of the only known birds to hibernate during the winter. During its hibernation, this tiny bird can survive without food and with a low body temperature.

4. Little Brown Bat

(Photograph by National Geographic)

From September to April, little brown bats hibernate in dark, humid mines and caves. During that time, male bats can mate with hibernating females who are then able to store sperm until the spring.

5. Hedgehog

Little Hedgehog in the green grass
(Photograph by Praisa Eng, Thinkstock)

Not only do hedgehogs hibernate during winters, but they also sleep when it is unbearably hot – a process called aestivation. In more temperate locations, hedgehogs will remain active throughout the year.

6. Yellow Jacket

(Photograph by Macie J, Thinkstock)
Mated yellow jacket queens are able to hibernate through cold temperatures. They bury themselves in soil, leaf litter or hollow logs for the duration of the season.

7. Garter Snake

(Photograph by Randall Runtsch, Thinkstock)
When winter comes around, garter snakes will usually hibernate in groups to retain body heat. These snakes will form tight coils under rocks or inside burrows to prevent any heat loss during cold seasons.

8. Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemur

Photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic.
(Photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic)

Native to the island of Madagascar, fat-tailed dwarf lemurs enter into an elongated state of torpor during winter. As their metabolic rate slows down, these lemurs survive off of fat stored in their tails!

9. Common Box Turtle

(Photograph by photographereddie, Thinkstock)
The common box turtle seeks refuge in underground burrows known as hibernacula. These mini-reptiles are able to dig their depth up to two feet deep where they hibernate until April.

10. Black Bear

Black Bear, Alaska
(Photograph by Sorin Colac, Thinkstock)

Did you know pregnant female bears are able to give birth during hibernation? If a cub is born in January it will not hibernate the rest of the winter like the mother. Instead, they cuddle close to generate warmth until the springtime.

To see more cool critters check out natgeowild.com!