Do owls hibernate? Why or why not

Hibernation, hibernation or paralysis?

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Birds have it good - when it gets cold, they can simply fly to where it is warmer. But many animals cannot do that.

You have to find other solutions. Some animals get thick fur to protect them from the cold. Others hide in caves, tree trunks or buildings. You move only a little or not at all. In this way they save energy and need to eat much less.

Many small mammals sleep most of the winter. The larger animals just rest. Insects become very rigid and only move again when it gets warmer outside.


Real winter sleepers are hedgehogs, bats, dormice and marmots.

They can greatly lower their own body temperature. Your heartbeat becomes very slow.

Hedgehogs, for example, only breathe once or twice instead of 50 times per minute, the heart beats just five times per minute instead of 200.

But hibernation does not mean deep sleep. In between, the animals also wake up. Then they change their sleeping position and shed feces and urine. But they don't eat anything.

If the winter sleepers are disturbed more often, this can be fatal for them. Because that costs them energy. They then need food and cannot find any.


Badgers, squirrels, raccoons and brown bears keep their hibernation.

Animals that hibernate do not lower their own body temperature as much as hibernators. They wake up more often and occasionally forage for food.

However, it depends on how cold it is and how much food the animals find.

Brown bears that live in cold Siberia spend up to seven months in the bear cave. In Europe, where it is not quite as cold as in Siberia, they leave their cave several times in winter. In the warm zoo, where there is also enough food, bears do not hibernate at all.


Fishes, frogs, lizards, turtles and insects fall into winter rigor.

When it gets very cold, their bodies freeze and they don't wake up until it gets warmer outside. Simply waking them up is not possible with these animals.

In winter, frogs either bury themselves in the mud or look for small mouse passages to fall into paralysis. It rarely freezes there.

Insects hide in the wood and in small cracks. They have something very special in their bodies: a kind of antifreeze. Even when the outside temperature is below zero, your body fluid does not freeze, but remains liquid.

If it is spring and warmer again, then this is the wake-up signal for the sleeping animals. And the migratory birds are also coming back.

Winter active animals

But there are also animals that spend the winter actively. When it comes to birds, they are called resident birds, including sparrows, tits, blackbirds and many others. Every year they are counted at the "hour of the winter birds". And deer, deer, wild boar, fox and rabbit cavort in the forest in winter too.