Winter is coming, and wildlife knows it

When the days are getting shorter, the leaves are falling, and frost covers our windshields in the morning, we know what to do. We pull on our favorite cozy sweaters, cook up a pot of chili, and wrap them up in a fuzzy blanket on the couch.

How is our local wildlife preparing for the upcoming cold weather? It depends on two main factors: Can they find food in the winter? And do they have the ability to burn energy to warm their bodies?

Some wild animals store their food in advance.  Squirrels frantically scurry about hoarding or caching nuts for later this winter.

Some wild animals lose their food source in the winter. Since most insects do not survive the freezing weather, many songbirds end up traveling thousands of miles to their winter homes in Central and South America where insects abound.

Cold-blooded wildlife, also called outdoor animals, need the sun’s heat to regulate their body temperature. Although the sun shines in winter, the air is very cold. Snakes, frogs, salamanders and turtles have to move in a different direction – underground. They burrow below the frost line and enter a dormant state called stupor to survive the freezing weather.

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