Staying warm: How do critters do it?
Special to the Enterprise
The animals in the Rockies around us have developed many adaptations to survive in this environment. Food is the fuel to keep an animal’s body warm in the winter. A high energy demand is what drives small mammals and birds to use foods such as seeds, fruit, buds and insects rather than grasses or leaves. Water is important to circulate that warmth. The adaptations are often associated with how well an animal can obtain or manage enough food and water to survive.
Humans have figured out many ways to stay warm in the winter. We use layers and down filled, or fur-like clothing. Boot and glove heaters keep our feet and hands warm. Our homes and autos have systems to keep us warm. Even with all of that we are still no match to the wildlife when we are out in the elements.
There are basically four ways that the warm blooded wildlife in the Rockies manage the winter: migration, hibernation, insulation and managing heat.
Rick Spitzer is the author of “Colorado Mountain Passes,” published by Westcliffe Publishers and available at The Bookworm of Edwards, City Market, Amazon, and many stores across the state. The book provides photos and text about the history, lore, wildlife and scenery around the passes of Colorado.