When animals climb into a little hovel under the ground to hibernate for the winter, most of us probably assume they are merely going for a really long kip.
But hibernation is not sleep. Not exactly. In fact, animals sometimes even come out of hibernation to go to get 40 winks, such is the difference between the two states.
Hibernation, rather than a hugely extended nap, is more akin to short-term cryogenic freezing. An animal’s metabolism grounds almost to a halt: its breathing slows, its heartbeat decelerates to an unhurried thud, its body temperature drops, sometimes to just a few degrees above zero.
It is alive and awake, but only just, conserving as much energy as possible during the barren winter months when food is scarce and life tough.
It strikes us as very sensible. It also brings us to the animal kingdom’s most feared predator: Lionel Messi.
Read the full article about Lionel Messi’s return to form here.
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