The secret to longevity? Ask a yellow-bellied marmot

That's what a team of UCLA biologists and colleagues studying yellow-bellied marmots discovered. These large ground squirrels are able to virtually halt the aging process during the seven to eight months they spend hibernating ...

Hibernating for a trip to Mars, the way bears do

Hibernating astronauts could be the best way to save mission costs, reduce the size of spacecraft by a third and keep crew healthy on their way to Mars. An ESA-led investigation suggests that human hibernation goes beyond ...

Urban lights keep insects awake at night

A collaboration between Osaka City University and Setsunan University sheds light on the effect urbanization has on the flesh fly species Sarcophaga similis. Through a series of laboratory and in-field experiments, scientists ...

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Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals, characterized by lower body temperature, slower breathing, and lower metabolic rate. Hibernating animals conserve food, especially during winter when food supplies are limited, tapping energy reserves, body fat, at a slow rate. It is the animal's slowed metabolic rate which leads to a reduction in body temperature and not the other way around.

Hibernation may last several days or weeks depending on species, ambient temperature, time of year, and fur on the animal's body. The typical winter season for a hibernator is characterized by periods of hibernation interrupted by sporadic euthermic arousals wherein body temperature is restored to typical levels. There is a hypothesis that hibernators build a need for sleep during hibernation more slowly than normally, and must occasionally warm up in order to sleep. This has been supported by some evidence in the arctic ground squirrel.

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