In November, we notice the number of wild animals has greatly dwindled. Winter strategies for Minnesota’s native species include migration, coping and hibernation. Purple martins fly to Brazil for the winter after their summer nesting season. And gray squirrels remain active in their home landscape year-round while thirteen-lined ground squirrels (a k a Minnesota gophers) escape winter by hibernating underground.
A gopher plugs the burrow opening before beginning its long sleep, then curls into a ball, nose touching its belly and tail over its head. The heartbeat drops from 200 beats per minute to about 17. It consumes about 7 percent of the oxygen used while active. The body temperature sinks to 37 degrees. Severe cold with freezing temperatures penetrating deep into the soil can awaken gophers from their dormancy. This causes their body temperature to rise and prevents freezing to death.
Hibernation is a winterless life chosen by reptiles, amphibians, insects and some mammals. During the winter untold millions of animals — including toads, frogs, salamanders, snapping turtles, garter snakes, bats, woodchucks and mosquito larvae — are hibernating across Minnesota.
The physiology of this “sleep” is amazing. The animal’s breathing nearly stops. The blood thickens. The internal temperature drops. Metabolism slows. The kidneys and digestive system practically stop functioning. Hibernating animals can “sleep” through most disturbances. A few are able to wake up if their body temperatures approach freezing, but this seldom happens as many animals hibernate below the frost line on land or below the ice under water.
|St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn||4||FINAL|
|Washington - LP: J. Zimmermann||3|
|Toronto - WP: M. Buehrle||5||FINAL|
|Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber||0|
|LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson||2||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer||5|
|Baltimore - LP: B. Norris||2||FINAL|
|Boston - WP: J. Tazawa||4|
|Minnesota - LP: K. Correia||4||FINAL|
|Kansas City - WP: B. Chen||5|
|Cincinnati - LP: T. Cingrani||4||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: E. Jackson||8|
|Houston - LP: C. Qualls||3||FINAL|
|Oakland - WP: D. Otero||4|
|Milwaukee - WP: J. Henderson||8||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - LP: J. Grilli||7|
|Atlanta||7||Bottom 9th Inning|
|NY Yankees||1||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Seattle - LP: R. Elias||0||FINAL|
|Miami - WP: H. Alvarez||7|
|Chicago WSox||1||Top 7th Inning|
|Philadelphia||0||Top 8th Inning|
|Arizona||4||Bottom 7th Inning|
|San Francisco||1||Top 6th Inning|
|Memphis||16||1st Qtr 0:00|
|Columbus||3||1st OT 9:57|
|Minnesota||1||1st Prd 5:48|
|Toronto FC||1||2nd Half 15:00|
|Montreal||0||2nd Half 10:00|
|Sporting Kansas City||3|
|Portland||0||1st Half 15:00|
|Real Salt Lake||0|
Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?