Log Off... Shut Down... Get Outside!

Hibernation Hideaway

Remember the Bears in the Parks - Woolly Bear caterpillars that is - shared back in November? Well .. they have been hibernating for months under leaves and logs. Insects are ectothermic, which means cold blooded. Their inside temperature is the same as the outside temperature. If it is 25° F outside, they are frozen like a popsicle on the inside.

Woollybear-curled up

 

The little black and orange hairs that make a Woolly Bear feel so soft are called setae. It may appear that these setae would protect them from the cold weather. Instead, the small hairs actually help their bodies to freeze in a more controlled manner. When the caterpillar has found a preferred habitat site to hibernate, like a pile of leaves, empty garden pot or under a shed, it will settle in for the long winter. For hibernation to occur, the little caterpillar’s body must create glycerol. This is a natural chemical which acts like antifreeze. The caterpillar freeze bit by bit until everything except for the interior of their cells are frozen. Some caterpillars around the world can survive -90 F and Arctic species can spend 14 years in hibernation. Don't worry ... as the temperatures warm up, so will they!

Have you made frozen bubbles yet? Print off the instructions below and blow some art on a cold day.

Log off bubble ice crystal craftClick to Print