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why do some animals migrate or hibernate

Some animals travel relatively short distances to find food or more favorable living or breeding conditions. Most animals that migrate do so to find
food or more livable conditions. Some animals migrate to breed. The Atlantic Salmon begins its life in a river and migrates downstream to the ocean. After several years, it heads back upstream to lay eggs and begin the cycle all over again. Some crustaceans also migrate for breeding. In many species of crabs, the females will move into shallow coastal waters to mate and lay her eggs, then they return to deeper ocean waters. Frogs and toads often move very short distances to breeding ponds and lakes to lay their eggs. Some sea turtles, like the loggerhead, return year-after-year to the same sandy beach on which they hatched to lay their eggs. Sometimes animals migrate to find a place to hibernate. live in trees in warm months, then in cold weather they migrate to caves where it is warmer. Dear Dr. Universe: Why do animals hibernate? б -Jarrett T. , 10, Edinburgh, IN Dear Jarrett, Animals can get through winter in all kinds of ways.

Us cats like to curl up on a cozy couch. Some penguins huddle in groups to create heat. A lot of birds fly south to warmer weather. Perhaps you put on mittens and a coat. Then there are the hibernators. Some of these animals are bears, skunks, bats, frogs, and salamanders. Hibernation is like a deep, long winterБs sleep. But it isnБt exactly the same kind of sleep these animals would normally have at night. Hibernation means big changes for these animals and their bodies. The reason they hibernate is to survive chilly winters, said my friend. SheБs the campus veterinarian here at Washington State University. When scientists study hibernating animals, they find that these creatures have slower heartbeats than normal. A lot of animals can go without food for months at a time. Many donБt even have to wake up to go to the bathroom.

The hibernating grizzly bears here at WSU wake up for about 15 minutes each day. They go for a quick stretch, paw their straw bedding, and rest again. A lot of bears will spend months preparing for hibernation. While we were getting ready to go back to school, some animals were already stocking their food supply. Some animals stored their food in trees or burrows. Bears store food in their own bodies. Researchers at WSU are learning a lot about bear behavior, including how they can survive with such a slow beating heart and so many extra pounds of fat. This yearБs biggest bear, John, weighed in at 620 pounds. As he hibernates, he will lose fat. In spring, after he uses that stored up energy, heБll be about 500 pounds. Researchers are using what they learn about bears to help us understand more about heart diseases and obesity in humans, too. БItБs amazing how they can undergo this process and yet they are perfectly healthy,Б Woodford said.

БIf we tried to do it, weБd become quite ill. Б Grizzly bears are big hibernators. But other kinds of bears have different techniques to survive chilly temperatures. Some panda bears migrate to warmer conditions. Some polar bears can hibernate for about 8 months. They build dens and have other adaptations like thick blubbery fat and extra fur to help them survive in the cold, too. And while some animals have adapted to survive chilly winters, other animals need to survive hot summers. This is called estivation. Instead of storing up food and staying warm, these animals save up water and try to escape the heat. As as a cat that likes to snooze, IБd have to say taking a big old nap seems like quite a great way to get through the season. Sincerely, Dr. Universe Animals have all kinds of ways to stay warm in winter. Many animals that live in cold places have a layer of blubber that helps keep them warm. б Tell me about your project atб Dr. Universe@wsu. edu.

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