What do mammals, like rabbits, deer, and bears do in the Winter?

Some animals, including rabbits, deer, and Western Grey Squirrels, are active all Winter. Others, like the Eastern Chipmunk and the Black Bear hibernate, or slow down their heart rate and breathing rate, and enter a deep sleep. They usually eat as much as possible in the fall so they have extra fat to help them survive on less food during the Winter. Although they do not need as much food during the Winter, most animals will wake up to eat occasionally. Bears also hibernate, and may stay in hibernation for months before they wake up. Animals that stay awake also find ways to avoid predators. Rabbits and hares shed their brown summer fur and grow white fur so they will blend in with the snow. Whether awake or hibernating, small animals usually store up nuts, hay, or other favorite foods for the winter, and also look for fresh food by digging under the snow or nibbling tree buds.

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Animals in Winter
Learn about the many ways animals deal with Winter, including migration, hibernation, and adaptation. Many animals change their diet, the way they look, or where they live in order to survive the cold.

eNature: Mammals in US
Find out about 75 different animals and their winter habits at eNature. You can also read about their favorite foods, markings, and where they live. Included are bats, moles, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, gophers, mice, coyotes, deer, and raccoons.

Kids Planet: American Black Bear
Learn about American Black Bears, which can be as big as 300 pounds. Find out where they live, what they eat, and especially how they hibernate, for as long as 8 months in very cold areas!

Connecticut EPA: Getting Ready for Winter
This site talks about small animals--and birds, insects, and reptiles--found in Connecticut and what they do during the Winter. Find out which ones hibernate, which ones migrate, and which ones you might see in your yard if you look carefully.



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