Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cool things that happen when the temperature drops!

photo courtesy of www.cottageblog.ca

The last couple of days have indeed been not only cool, but downright cold, here in Muskoka. The lakes are beginning to freeze, snow is piling up and while we're bundling up to stay warm, the trees and animals are making their own adjustments for the frigid temperatures.

The sap of evergreen acts like an anti-freeze allowing their needles to survive throughout the long winter season. The nice smell when you crush the needles is the oil beneath their surface that allows them to survive. The needles also have a think wax coating allowing moisture to stay in.

photo courtesy of www.cottageblog.ca

The subnivean layer is the space between the warmer ground and the snow where small animals are active throughout the winter. The layer is used for both warmth and shelter, but also an area to hide from predators. At -40 outside the subnivean layer can be as warm as -4

Chipmunks aren't able to build up a think fat layer for hibernation, so instead they take long naps and wake up periodically for a snack from the storage of nuts they collected over the fall.

Snowshoe hares and ptarmigans turn white allowing them to camouflage in the snow.

    Animals create many trail systems in the winter (like the deer trail above), connecting water, food and home locations. The trails allow for greater conservation of energy (which is key in the winter!). Moose and deer make trails based on shortest distance, as a result of their long narrow legs making traveling difficult in snow. Smaller animals on the other hand such as hares, skunks, and squirrels and even foxes make trails for both energy conservation and for survival; allowing them to swiftly escape their predators.
    What COOL things are happening where you are??
    I would love to hear from you: leave a comment below.

No comments:

Post a Comment