Canada’s Ground Squirrels Survive The Harsh Winter In A Super-cool Slumber

As winter temperatures drop to -30C across parts of Canada, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel nestles one-metre underground in a grass-lined burrow for six months of the year. It avoids the harsh weather and lack of food by slipping into a deep sleep known as torpor (too bad we can’t all do that sometimes). Its body temperature plunges to just a few degrees above zero, its heart barely beats, and it hardly breathes. It would be too dangerous to remain in torpor all winter, so these squirrels re-warm themselves every ten days or so to maintain brain function and sleep. They need to wake-up to sleep. As the brain begins to warm up, the squirrel shivers — a way to increase blood flow to almost frozen muscles and organs. Like waking up with a huge hangover, the squirrel has temporary brain damage and suffers from memory loss and disorientation. It apparently takes 30 minutes to become fully functional again.

(Source and

Posted in All Stories, Annoucer Blogs, Jeff Tagged with: , , ,

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