Wintering and hibernation: what are the differences?

Wintering and hibernation what are the differences

The mammals that inhabit our Earth have developed different techniques to survive the throes of winter. They hibernate, of course. But some also choose to simply winter. A letter that makes all the difference …

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According to Larousse, to winter means: “to spend the winter, the bad season”. It should be noted that the term can be used interchangeably for living beings or for objects. Thus a boat overwinters in the port just as cows overwinter in the barn. For the same Larousse, hibernation, on the other hand, refers to the fact of: “spending the winter in hypothermic state “.

Originally, the term winter was actually more used to refer to ships or troops that had to find a place to protect to spend the winter without too much damage. Then, it spread to animals that we voluntarily put away in a stable, for example, or who take matters into their own hands. So the Migrator birds do they go to winter in regions warmer than ours.

Wintering and hibernation: issues of vigilance, temperature and metabolism

But let’s go into detail. What really differentiates hibernation from wintering is the state of vigilance in which the animal is practicing it. When an animal hibernates, it is in an advanced state of lethargy. Only the sound zones brain who command vital actions remain active. The animal that overwinters, for its part, dozes. His brain remains very reagent and he can wake up perfectly.

Another difference: the body temperature of these animals. Those who hibernate will see their temperature sometimes drop to 0 ° C. But not below. The temperature of winter visitors, on the other hand, will only drop very little. What all the same to realize some precious energy savings.

Side metabolism also, there is a real difference. That of hibernating animals can decrease by 98%. Their heartbeat and their blood flow decreases. The first can thus go from some 350 beats per minute to just 3! Their breathing is also scarce. And periods ofapnea are observed. Wintering animals remain more active. Females can even give birth to young …

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