Wildlife Gardening with Paul Peace

Wildlife gardening - timely advice throughout the year, projects etc. Information on wild flowers, birds, butterflies, bumblebees, mason bees, ladybirds, lacewings, frogs, etc. If it's to do with garden wildlife, you will find it here!

Monday, October 23, 2006

When hibernation becomes cremation

The temperature is falling and food is becoming more scarce. In response to this many animals hibernate or slow their activity to conserve energy through the leaner months. Hibernation is a form suspended animation brought on by some dramatic physiological changes including a drop in body temperature and slowing of the heart and breathing. For example, a hedgehog’s body temperature will fall to between 1 and 10°C. It’s heart slows from 190 beats per minute to just 20 and it will draw breath only once every few minutes.

To wake a hibernating animal suddenly can be fatal. Precious energy reserves are used to kick-start the metabolism in response to the perceived danger. It is therefore best to leave wood and leaf piles undisturbed until spring. Avoid building bonfires before November 5th. You could well unwittingly cremate a hedgehog that has decided to make its winter home there.

For more wildlife gardening advice, ebooks, information, projects and jokes please visit: www.thewildlifegarden.co.uk


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