Winter is coming and the wildlife knows it

When the days get shorter, the leaves fall, and frost covers our windshields in the morning, we know what to do. We pull out our favorite warm sweaters, cook a pot of chili, and wrap up in a fuzzy blanket on the couch.

How do our local wildlife prepare for the freezing weather ahead? It depends on two main factors: Can they find food in the winter? And do they have the ability to burn energy to heat their bodies?

Some wild animals store their food in advance.  Squirrels are frantically scrambling to hoard or store nuts to eat later this winter.

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

Cold-blooded wild animals, also called ectothermic animals, need the heat of the sun to regulate their body temperature. Although the sun rises in winter, the air is too cold. Snakes, frogs, salamanders and turtles must travel in a different direction: underground. They bury themselves below the frost line and go into a dormant state called a stupor to survive the freezing weather.

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