Cryophile files: Sleepy squirrels teach humans survival

If people could choose an animal to be in winter, I would hide in the mud as a frog. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it to keep going on with an active life during this sleepy season.

Many mammals in Alaska took the hint from reptiles and amphibians. Both reptiles and hibernating mammals lower their metabolisms and cool down in cold conditions. They don’t need to find as much food because they’re just needing to keep warm long enough to stay alive until spring.

Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks study hibernation’s implications on mankind. I interviewed research technician Jeanette Moore, neuroscientist Kelly Drew and physiologist Mike Harris. We talk about everything from ground squirrels to cats, caffeine to zombies, winter blues to heart attacks, all in the name of understanding this strange sleep-like state. Click below to listen to the story:

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