Oh, what a life it would be to be able to live how some animals do. Animals that hibernate really have it good. While humans tend to make small adjustments in winter such as “taking it easy” or being less stressed about that summer bod—turning to comfort foods and a cozier lifestyle; animals really take it easy—some animals don’t wake up ALL winter! Here are some charming animals that pop out to play after their long nap:
The winter of a box turtle involves nearly 150 days of sleeping (sounds nice!). While they are hibernating, their heart rates have been recorded to dip as low as beating a merely once every 5 minutes! So, they are ready to be out in the warmth to get their blood pumping when they pop their cute heads out of those shells come late spring. These adorably sensitive animals can retract all their limbs and head into their shells and then clamp their shells fully closed—super protected! If you see one of these guys on the road, hopefully, you’re there in time to help them cross. They make look cute enough to bring home as a pet, but these guys really do belong in the wild—they like grasses and swampy areas!
These guys really have a special talent—during their winter hibernation, they don’t wake up ONCE. That’s quite impressive. They are mostly found in Europe and Asia, hedgehogs come out in the early summer and like to hang out around dusk and dawn. They are quite skittish and shy—normally kind of freezing up when you get near them. However, they are still the cutest scroungers of the forest floor around.
Moths are almost equally as impressive as Mr. Hedgehog. They sleep in cracks of rocks in groups and clusters while they undergo physical changes to accommodate for winter. Some moths nearly freeze, their heart rates slowing way, way down, during the winters month. Moths (along with butterflies) are some of the first to come out from their hiding places when summer finally does arrive. They flock to the flowers as soon as they begin to bloom. Many people see these animals as pests, but they are an important factor in the lives of many other plants and animals.
There are some summer specific butterflies that really enjoy the warm weather. They also happen to be some of the most interesting looking and beautiful specimens. Some of these types include painted ladies, commas, green-veined whites, and peacocks. Be on the lookout for these eye-catching and fluttery finds!
These spooky guys are actually quite fascinating. Summer nights are when bats are most active—find them swooping quite low to the ground (especially on damp nights), to catch all the bugs they can. Keep an ear out for the sounds these guys make—extremely high pitched screeches are how these fascinating ones communicate and interact. It’s quite difficult to identify different species, especially in the dark. However, Pipistrelles are most common of the small variety.
On The Coast
Let’s shift our attention to the coastal areas a bit. These next few animals don’t hibernate in the winter, but spend their time out at sea or near warmer waters or currents. Summer whale and bird watching can be quite exciting depending on what coast you’re exploring. These next few animals are mostly found on the east coast, especially near Jersey Shore. Let’s check some out:
Okay, they can be quite annoying—stealing food, ruining picnics, and making noises that could set anyone off—but there are many of these guys that flock to most all coasts during the summer. Certain species on the east coast are on the decline…so you may be seeing less of these guys.
These guys are pretty weird. First of all, they can only walk backward. Second, of all, they bury themselves in the sand facing the sea with only their eyes/antennae above the sand and then wait for the tide to wash in tiny plankton that they can eat with their eyes. Interesting! However, if you keep your eyes peeled (and above the sand, like these guys!), you will definitely spot some this summer on the east coast.
These lively, energetic and intelligent creatures return from down south in the summer to feed and give birth. Male and female groups travel separately and it is not uncommon to see them close to shore as well as out at sea. These dolphins are quite abundant and very intelligent. It’s always an exciting moment to spot a group of these guys dancing above the waves.
Overall, summer is an exciting time for many animals. Whether returning from the open ocean or waking up for the first time in months, many animals are more lively, out and about. Keep your eyes and ears open for some summer animals near you! See if you can spot some on this list.