Friday, January 12, 2024


     Some readers, from the Spencer the Jack Rabbit post, rightly wondered about survival. It will be dropping down to minus 45 C tonight so people would think more than ever about survival of the critters. 

     Critters are extremely well adapted for survival. Human interference is the greatest challenge critters have. Humans have destroyed much of the earth's natural areas. Critters have had to adapt and find other habitat which may not be as suitable.

    All critters have their own survival mechanisms. For Spencer, he's active at night feeding on plant material that he likes. In the daytime he rests all day and digests food. At night there are fewer predators active and in the daytime he blends in with the environment. They have an incredible coat that keeps them warm and they find shelter. There's very little wind at ground level. Their survival rate is high until disease strikes. Many aboriginal groups used rabbit skins to wrap their infants in for winter. 

    Young of the year have a challenge for survival. Deer fawns, that are born later in the spring and early summer, will have trouble to survive. 

    Some critters have population cycles. The population of snow shoe hares increases enormously and then their predators do well until the food from snow shoe hares is less. 

      Here, many of our domestic animals have adapted. Horses and cattle grow a very heavy coat. Cattle and horses stay out all winter.

    Birds are a little more fragile when it comes to surviving in winter. They do molt and grow heavy down against the skin and new outer feathers. They seem to be able to find protected areas. They also become less active in the cold so use less energy. Sometimes a few chickadees will pile into a whole in a tree and nestle together for warmth. 

     Then there are the critters who hibernate. Bears for example. Frogs bury into the mud and are not active in the cold winter. Hey, we've even got snakes here. 

    Yes there will be losses in very severe weather but they have adaptations for the habitat they are suited for.