Waking up…but still so sleepy…

15 Apr Waking up…but still so sleepy…

Have you ever seen an animal just waking up from a long winter’s nap? Waking up… but still so sleepy…

I once happened upon a huge bullfrog that had just managed to crawl out of a pond in early spring, and was terribly tired out. He just sat…and sat…and sat…while I crept up close enough to look him in the face. Problem was, he was still so sleepy, his eyes were barely open. But it was an awesome experience!

Visit Hanna Branch April 28 to see local animals that were hibernating and out of sight a few weeks earlier. You’ll learn intriguing facts and see cool videos about animals in various stages of hibernation. Find out which animal freezes solid every winter, but resurrects itself with no apparent damage in Spring!

My kids loved having animals around when they were growing up. We didn’t have much space for big critters, but we often hosted a stray salamander, toad, snake or turtle–all of which hibernate.  We usually let them back into their natural habitat for slumbering away the winter, but on occasion had the need to overwinter a salamander. The salamander would stay underground in the indoor habitat just as it would have outdoors, and wouldn’t eat for months.

Some people with pet turtles leave their hard-shelled friends in the refrigerator during winter! This may sound cruel, but if the refrigerator is kept at the correct above-freezing temperature, it’s just right to allow the turtle to happily snooze away the winter.

Since hibernation is part of these animals’ life cycles, disturbing hibernation can actually cause harm. For instance, bats can have problems when humans disturb the cave they are using for hibernation. Large numbers of bat deaths can result from a change of just a few degrees in temperature caused by humans entering and leaving.

Find out more about hibernation, and see some cool animals on video and “in person” at Hanna Branch, Thursday, April 28 at 4:00 pm.