The Open Door Web Site
Part XVIII: Energy and Activity : When the Climate is Too Cold for Animals to Remain Active Index
'Cold-blooded' Animals in Winter
Blue tit feeding in winter, Sheffield, UK
A vixen in a Sheffield garden in December
ENERGY AND ACTIVITY
'Warm-blooded' animals in winter : Remaining Active
Winter can be very challenging for animals. Some of the same problems which face plants in winter also face animals: freezing temperatures, lack of water, and fewer hours of sunlight during the day.
Many seed-eating birds stay and brave out the cold winter months. The blue tit in the photograph (left) makes good use of the nuts in a bird feeder.
In order to remain active, animals need a good food supply throughout the winter. Large herbivores, such as deer, do not get cold very quickly and they can usually find enough food during the winter months. Instead of eating grass and herbs which may be covered in deep snow, they may have to eat the bark of trees and the branches and shoots of bushes.
Carnivorous mammals and birds may hunt for herbivores which are still active. For example, foxes can still find mice, voles or rabbits to eat in winter. If, however, a carnivore specializes in insects (an insectivore) it may find no food at all in the winter months.
Fox and bird prints in the snow, Sheffield, UK
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