eli5…How do wild mammals not freeze to death

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Deer, foxes, rabbits, etc. are all warm blooded mammals that regularly experience sub-freezing temperatures that would kill humans in a matter of hours. How do they survive?

In: 1817

19 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Small mammals dig burrows. The ground is a decent enough insulator for when it’s very cold.

Bigger ones have more built in solutions. Bears with layers of fat to protect from the cold, or deep furs

Anonymous 0 Comments

High-fat diets, fur coats and insulated shelters. The same way *people* don’t freeze to death.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Animals that are native to cold areas usually have thick fur and fat layers to keep them insulated. Essentially the multiple layers of fur are like wearing multiple winter coats which also cover your face and hands.

Anonymous 0 Comments

One way mammals stay warm in the winter is by having a layer of fat under their skin. This fat acts like insulation, helping to keep their bodies warm. Some mammals, like bears, build up a thick layer of fat before winter to help them survive the cold.
Another way that mammals stay warm is by moving around and staying active. When they are active, their bodies generate heat, which helps to keep them warm.
Mammals also have special coatings on their fur or hair that help to keep them warm. For example, some mammals have thick, fluffy fur that traps air and helps to insulate their bodies. Others have a layer of waterproof fur or hair that helps to keep them dry and warm in the snow.
Finally, some mammals have special behaviors that help them stay warm in the winter. For example, some mammals huddle together for warmth or burrow underground to escape the cold.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Based on the jack rabbit i found on the sidewalk going to school in a non snowy, but ice cold morning.

They freeze to death, and then get dragged around by some elementary school kids on the way to school.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Don’t forget, wild mammals do freeze to death. Even with the fat and fur and cuddles they can die from extreme cold weather.
They can slow metabolism, gather insulation (like humans and clothing and housing) group together, migrate further south. Etc. But they do freeze and die, edit: every year all the time. Nature is brutal, survival of the fittest.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Deer have thin legs that are pretty much all tendons and bone. So… Their legs do kind of freeze. But because it’s soo thin and their bodies are compact and insulated they can keep the thin amount of blood flowing through the veins thawed out enough.

Also. Once it’s below 20, dry snow becomes a very very good insulator.

Just last night I had to get something from my truck late at night and I just went out in my socks. It wasn’t cold on the feet at all because the snow doesn’t melt.

Felt like walking on styrofoam.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There are different types of cold survival, from physiological to behavioural. It’s really complex and it’s quite specific for each animal. You should look for a couple of examples that you like.

Anonymous 0 Comments

One often overlooked factor is just size. Oftentimes being large enough is adequate to stay warm. Even with a coat of insulation. Gigantothermy and thermal momentum can do a lot for an animal. Now ironically most animals large enough to benefit from this are long since extinct but you still see it in nature.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantothermy