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24 Animals that Hibernate (A to Z List & Pictures)

animals that hibernate

Examples of animals that hibernate include bats, bears, bumblebees, chipmunks, and dear mice.

Hibernation is a state of inactivity and reduced metabolism that some animals enter to conserve energy during the winter. The word “hibernate” derives from the Latin word “hībernāre,” meaning “of winter.”

When an animal hibernates, its body temperature drops and its heart rate slows down dramatically. Hibernation can help large mammals like bears survive winters where there is not enough food available to prey on other animals for sustenance.

Examples of Animals that Hibernate

1. Bats

bat
Scientific NameChiroptera
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length6 Months

Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly, but they are also one of the few species that hibernate. Over half of the bat species in North America hibernate from late autumn to early spring.

During hibernation, bats curl up into a ball and reduce their heart rate and body temperature to conserve energy.

2. Bears

Black bear in meadow
Scientific NameUrsidae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America, South America, Europe, and Asia
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length5 -7 Months

Bears hibernate by slowing their heart rate and metabolism. They can hibernate for up to seven months. During hibernation, they may lose up to a third of their body weight. Their fur also becomes matted and covered in dirt.

When they wake up, they need to eat around 25 pounds of food to gain back the weight they lost.

3. Box Turtles

box turtle
Scientific NameTerrapene
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangeeastern United States
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length3 – 4 Months

Smaller animals like turtles or reptiles typically hibernate for shorter periods of time than larger animals. Box Turtles usually sleep through the winter months and will awake in spring, when warmer weather returns to their natural habitats.

These creatures are cold-blooded; this means that they need help staying warm during the colder seasons. When it gets cold outside, box turtles will seek out a warm and safe place to sleep through the winter.

They may also burrow into mud or leaf piles, which can protect them from freezing temperatures that could harm their fragile bodies.

Box Turtles hibernate during the colder months of fall and winter but typically awaken in late spring when it starts to get warmer outside.

While they are hibernating, their heart rates slow down, and their body temperature drops. This process helps conserve energy so that the turtles can last until the warmer weather arrives again. In addition to hibernation, box turtles also estivate during the hottest parts of summer.

During this time, they will seek shelter in shady areas and stay still for days at a time.

4. Bumblebees

Bumblebee
Scientific NameBombus
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeNorthern Hemisphere
DietHerbivore
Hibernation Length6 – 7 Months

Bumblebees hibernate in the winter by clustering together in a warm, dark place. Their huddle can keep the group as warm as 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), which is much higher than the outside temperature.

Bumblebees will hibernate until the weather warms up and they can start foraging again.

5. Chipmunks

Chipmunk
Scientific NameTamias
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length4 Months

Chipmunk is a small or medium-sized rodent belonging to the family Sciuridae (the same family as squirrels). There are around 25 species of chipmunks all over North America and Asia.

Some Native American tribes refer to these animals as “sacred bears” because of their size and habits.

Hibernation of chipmunks typically lasts from three to four months. They wake up periodically and move around in their burrows, but only for short periods. The average temperature during hibernation is about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the weather warms more than usual or if they run out of food near the end of hibernation, chipmunks may wake up early.

6. Common Poorwill

Poorwill
Scientific NamePhalaenoptilus nuttallii
Type of AnimalBird
RangeBritish Columbia and southeastern Alberta
DietCarnivore
Hibernation Length1 – 3 Months

They will usually go into hibernation in April, May, and September.

Their body temperature will drop to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and their heart rate will drop to just four beats per minute.

They can stay in this state for up to six months! How do they know when it’s time to wake up? They will start to stir and their heart rate will increase when the days get longer in the spring.

7. Deer Mice

Deer Mouse
Scientific NamePeromyscus maniculatus
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangenorthern boreal forest
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length1 – 4 Months

Deer mice hibernate in much the same way as other small mammals. They find a sheltered spot to curl up in, and they enter into a state of torpor.

This is a deep sleep where their heart rate and body temperature drop significantly. Deer mice can stay in this state for several weeks or even months depending on the weather and the availability of food.

When they wake up, there is a good chance that spring will be on its way and their breeding cycle can begin again.

8. Fat-tailed Lemurs

ring tailed lemur
Scientific NameCheirogaleus medius
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangewestern Madagascar
DietHerbivore
Hibernation Length7 Months

Fat-tailed lemurs spend about half of their lives sleeping. They sleep for 14 to 16 hours a day during the dry season when food is scarce, but they are awake almost all night long during the wet months.

The species can go into daily torpor—a state of decreased activity that uses less energy than sleep but still allows the body to function well enough for breathing and temperature regulation.

9. Garter Snakes

garter snake
Scientific NameThamnophis
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeSoutheast and most of North America
DietCarnivore
Hibernation Length5 – 6 Months

In the colder months of the year, you may see Garter Snakes burrowed deep into the ground. This is because Garter Snakes go through a type of hibernation called brumation during this time. They go into a deep sleep and don’t eat or drink anything for several months.

Garter Snakes start hibernating when the temperature starts to drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They can hibernate for up to six months.

During this time, their heart rate and breathing slow down until they are almost asleep. Their body temperatures also drop significantly, from about 80 degrees Fahrenheit down to around 35 degrees. This allows them to conserve energy and survive during the cold winter months.

10. Geckos

a gecko
Scientific NameGekkonidae
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore
Hibernation Length3 – 4 Months

Geckos hibernate during the colder winter months. They will find a dark and warm spot to curl up in and will sleep for several weeks or even months.

Some geckos can even slow their heart rate and breathing down to almost nothing. This allows them to conserve energy until the warmer weather returns.

11. Ground Squirrels

Squirrel
Scientific NameMarmotini
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeOregon and California
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length7 – 9 Months

Ground squirrels hibernate for about seven months of the year, depending on the location. They usually go into hibernation in late September to March and wake up in March or April.

During hibernation, their body temperature drops from 37 degrees Celsius to just two degrees Celsius.

Their heart rate slows to four beats per minute, and their respiratory rate is reduced to just one breath every 20 minutes.

12. Groundhogs

Groundhog
Scientific NameMarmota monax
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length3 – 6 Months

Groundhogs hibernate from October to March. They will usually start to prepare for hibernation in September by eating more and putting on weight.

During hibernation, their heart rate slows down, they breathe less often, and their body temperature drops. When they wake up in the spring, they may lose a lot of weight since they do not eat for a few weeks.

13. Hedgehogs

hedgehog
Scientific NameErinaceinae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeEurope, Asia, Africa and New Zealand
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length6 Weeks – 6 Months

Hedgehogs are in the same family as shrews. They have long, pointed snouts and small eyes that they close when in hibernation to keep dirt out of them during sleep.

Their quills make it difficult for predators to get a good grip on their skin so they will roll up into a tight little ball if attacked rather than fight.

Hedgehogs hibernate for 6 Weeks – 6 months weeks depending on the climate and food supply.

14. Hummingbird

hummingbird
Scientific NameTrochilidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeTierra Del Fuego to southern Alaska
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length1 – 4 Months

Hummingbirds are one of the smallest types of birds in the world. They can survive cold winters by going into a hibernation-like state called torpor, where their body temperature drops and they become less active to save energy when food is scarce or temperatures drop too low.

15. Ladybug

Ladybug
Scientific NameCoccinellidae
Type of Animalinsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length3 – 4 Months

The Ladybug is an insect that hibernates in the winter. It can be found during warmer months, usually between April and October.

The ladybug does not eat while it’s hibernating but will wake up to find food if its body temperature drops below 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius). If you see one out of season give it a cup of sugar water.

16. Land Snails

snail
Scientific NameAllogona profunda
Type of AnimalGastropod
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore
Hibernation LengthUp to 3 Years

Land snails hibernate by hiding in a cool, dark place. They may also seal themselves inside their shells to help keep out the cold. Land snails usually hibernate from late fall to early spring. Some species can hibernate for up to 3 years.

17. Lizards

lizard
Scientific NameLacertilia
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore
Hibernation Length5 Months

Lizards are cold-blooded animals. This means that their body temperature depends on the environment around them. If it is very cold outside, lizards will hibernate to survive.

Lizards can hibernate for up to five months at a time in order to stay alive when temperatures drop below freezing.

18. Marmot

Marmot
Scientific NameMarmota
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangenorth of Mexico
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length5 – 6 Months

Marmots hibernate in the winter. They can stay in their burrows for up to seven months without eating or drinking.

Their heart rate drops from about 180 beats per minute to four beats per minute, and they breathe just once every five minutes. When they wake up in the spring, they may have lost up to 30% of their body weight.

19. Moths

moth
Scientific NameLepidoptera
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore
Hibernation Length4 Months

Moths are insects that have no control over their body temperature. They are cold-blooded, which means they rely on the outside environment to maintain a constant internal temperature.

This is why moths will stay in hibernation for as long as it takes to keep them at an optimal thermal level. The length of time moth hibernates depends on the climate and weather conditions of their environment.

20. Prairie Dogs

Prairie Dog
Scientific NameCynomys
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America
DietHerbivore
Hibernation Length6 Months

Prairie dogs typically hibernate for about six months. The length of time that they spend in the den varies with region and altitude, but it usually begins around late October or November and lasts until March or April.

21. Raccoon

raccoon
Scientific NameProcyon lotor
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length1 Month

Raccoon may hibernate for as long as one month. The animal enters a deep sleep and experiences changes in body temperature, metabolism, and respiration rate. During this time it will not eat or drink anything and rely on reserves of fat stored within its tissues to survive the winter.

Raccoons do not like to live alone; they are very social animals and will often den with other raccoons during hibernation.

Interestingly, captive raccoons have been known to not hibernate at all if they don’t have a suitable place to do so.

22. Skunks

Hog-Nosed Skunks
Scientific NameMephitidae
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangethe United States, Canada, South America and Mexico
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length4 Months

Skunks hibernate from December to March. They usually den in a hole or under a building.

Skunks are sometimes seen out and about during the winter, but they are actually just looking for food.

Skunks can lose up to half their body weight during hibernation. When they wake up, they need to find food and rebuild their stores of fat. Skunks are the only member of the weasel family that hibernates.

23. Wood Frogs

Wood Frog
Scientific NameLithobates sylvaticus
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAlaska and the Northeast
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length3 Months

Wood Frogs hibernate when the temperature drops. The length of time they spend under depends on how cold it gets and what their habitat is like during warmer months. Scientists believe that Wood Frogs can stay dormant for over 3 months at a time.

24. Woodchucks

Woodchuck
Scientific NameMarmota monax
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangethe eastern United States
DietOmnivore
Hibernation Length3 Months

Woodchucks hibernate from October to March. They will usually find a well-protected spot, such as in a hollow log or beneath a pile of rocks, to curl up in and sleep.

During their slumber, woodchucks’ heart rates slow down and they breathe very little, allowing them to conserve energy.

Interestingly, woodchucks can also go into a state of torpor, which is a type of deep sleep, for short periods of time if they need to save energy.

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