Benefits of Hibernation
Hibernation can be described as a physical state characterized by dramatically deep sleep in mammal. It can last for days to months, but in most cases animals return to normalcy periodically. Hibernation is basically a physical adaptation to extreme cold temperature and typically occurs in winter.
1. Adaptation to cold climate
Some mammals would be unable to survive in cold climate. In cold seasons, low temperatures tend to lower their metabolism, while making food sources scarcer. This is the primary reason as to why warm-blooded animals hibernate, to keep their body temperature slightly above the prevalent temperature. As a result, this lowers the rate of metabolism and thus the animal spends minimal energy. In other words, hibernation helps mammals survive the cold season.
2. Preserves energy
Our bodies need food to work right. The same case applies to animals since they need food to walk and hunt, and do other things. Because finding food is almost impossible during winter, hibernating animals simply use stored body fat as a source of energy. However, this would not be possible if the animals stay awake because it would deplete the stored body fat. Therefore, warm blooded animals save energy by staying motionless for a certain period of time.
3. Food is scarce in winter
Hibernation is common in warm blood mammals because migration would deplete the stored fat. While most animals hibernate in the cold season, some migrate or hibernate in summer. Because food is scarce in winter, warm-blooded animals stay motionless for a few weeks, or even months to preserve the stored body fat. However, some animals wake periodically to hunt for food when the climate is tolerable.
Small animals can not hibernate since their food reserve is limited. In other words, small animals may die in winter as a result of starvation. However, they usually reduce their body temperate as a means of survival.