Resilient Residence – Mammals that are inactive but don’t hibernate

shutterstock_16664695BeaverThis is the second of a four part series on our province’s most resilient animals. You can find out more about mammals that are active through the winter here.

You may have assumed that the mammals you don’t see during the winter are hibernating, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, some mammals use an ‘in between’ strategy that involves a lot of deep sleeping with some activity to pass the time in colder weather. Continue reading

Resilient Residents – Mammals that stay

shutterstock_2711057CanadianLynxWinter has arrived! Over the past two years, we have looked at animals who leave the province or the ones who take long winter naps until spring. This year, our focus is on those animals that brave the challenges of our cold and snowy climate. This is the first of a four part series on our province’s most resilient animals. Continue reading

Alberta’s Happy Hibernators: Reptiles

This is part four of a six part series on hibernators. You can find the first three parts on bearsbats and amphibians here.

For those cold-blooded reptiles that call Alberta home, our winters are the perfect opportunity to slow their breathing and fall into a deep, deep sleep. Located mostly in the south of the province, the types of reptiles found here are few – only seven snake, one lizard and one turtle species.

Into the Snake’s Den

shutterstock_7148287PrairieRattlesnakePrairie rattlesnakes, western hog-nosed snakes, bull snakes, yellow-bellied racers and three species of garter snakes: plains, wandering and red-sided can be found in Alberta. Only the wandering garter snake and the red-sided garter snake  are found outside of southern Alberta.

Not all snakes winter in the same places. What makes the best winter home? In most cases, lots of friends and an underground den, or hibernacula, are ideal. Snake dens are usually located in rock crevices or caves, or small mammal burrows. The temperatures within hibernacula remain just above freezing during the winter because of the insulating effects of the earth. Continue reading