We humans have to layer on heavy clothes and justify packing on a few pounds just to make it through winter, but these animals were made to survive the colder months.
Check out the amazing adaptations these animals have evolved to not only survive, but to thrive in winter. Here are six animals that are more prepared for winter than you.
1. Snowshoe Hare
True to their name, these hares are equipped with large feet that help them balance on top of snow without sinking into it. The hare’s fur also turns color by season in order to camouflage it with its surroundings. The fur becomes white in winter and returns to brown in the spring. However, the tips of the hare’s ears stay black year-round.
2. Arctic Fox
This fox also earns its name by excelling in cold environments. Like the snowshoe hare, its fur changes color during winter, and its body shape is ideal for preserving body heat. It doesn’t even begin to shiver until the temperature drops to almost 100 degrees below zero. It’s also a skilled winter hunter, being able to detect and pounce on prey as it moves under snow.
3. Wood Frog
This frog is equipped with what basically amounts to antifreeze in its veins, allowing it to literally freeze in winter and later thaw. Think of that next time you claim you’re “freezing” in cold weather. The wood frog will remain as hard as ice until spring approaches, and then immediately begin breeding season. Like some kind of amphibious Austin Powers, it’s barely thawed out before it starts seeking out females.
More from Wide Open Spaces:
Caribou have several features that allow them to survive the cold, but probably the most odd is their super vision. As winter darkens in their environment north of the Arctic circle, their eyes can detect ultraviolet light, which allows them to see in dim conditions. Their eyes can also change color, from golden in the summer to blue in the winter, to increase their sensitivity.
5. Polar Bear
This is one of the few bear species that doesn’t need to hibernate during winter because the Arctic is practically winter year-round. Polar bears will sleep right through blizzards, allowing snow to pile up around them like an insulating blanket. These animals don’t just survive snow and ice, they depend on it, which is why global warming poses a threat to their survival.
6. Japanese Macaque
These monkeys tackle winter like they’re on vacation at a fancy ski resort; they soak it up in a hot tub. While equipped with thick fur, they stay even warmer by bathing in hot springs. They also play with snow in many of the same ways human children do, even having snowball fights. It’s no secret where they gained their nickname, the snow monkey.
I think we can all learn something from these animals this winter when the thermometer drops.