Who’s Hibernating?

Puppy Dog Sleeping on a red blanket

Who’s Hibernating?

Written By: Lara Wardlow, Explore Nature! Naturalist at LaBoiteaux Woods Nature Center

When we think of Hibernation, our thoughts tend to flow toward bears in caves or groundhogs in deep underground burrows. But we have some surprising local hibernating animals that you may not know: Bats, Ladybugs, Butterflies, & Honeybees.

By slowing down their body’s functions, these animals can survive the winter when their food sources are scarce or non-existent by relying on the fat stored in their bodies from the food eaten before the winter season. Some slow their heart rate and bodily functions down to almost undetectable levels, some produce an antifreeze-like substance that keeps their bodies from freezing solid, and some huddle together for warmth.

Some butterflies hibernate behind the bark of trees or under piles of bracken; bats find crevices in dead trees, under bark or inside the homes of previous animal occupants; honeybees ball together and vibrate their bodies to create warmth that helps them survive; and ladybugs congregate in clusters for warmth inside tree cavities, under rocks, and even in the walls of our homes.

As you look upon our winter landscape this season, take a moment to recognize the amazing things our animals friends do to survive the coldest months of the year. Bundle up and enjoy your Cincinnati Parks this winter.