Calling All Nature Lovers! Top 10 Animals That Hibernate Explained

Have you ever take a power nap for days? Certainly no! Join us to explore some of the most noticeable and strangest creatures in the world that rest for months! Wondered? Let’s introduce you with the top 10 animals that hibernate to protect themselves from the harsh environments and save their body energy.

Bears are the animals that are commonly known for hibernating, but they are not alone, in fact there is a long list for the hibernating animals, for example turtles, snakes, groundhogs, rodents, bats and many other mammals. Some non-mammalian hibernators include common box turtle, common garter snake and wood frog. Below is the list of top 10 animals that hibernate to lower their metabolic rate, thus consuming less energy.

1. Bears

Bear-Top 10 animals that hibernate

With the powerful appearance, bears stand first in our list of top 10 animals that hibernate. Not all, but only 4 species of bear are the hibernators, including American Black Bear, Asiatic Black bear, Brown bear and Polar bear. Although, it is said that bears hibernate yet they don’t do so in the true sense.

They are in a phase of rest in which their body temperature drops very little bit and they can get up anytime. The heartbeat of a black bear drops from 40 – 50 to 8 beats per minute as they can survive without eating or drinking for 100 days! Estimated period of hibernation for bears lasts for 5-7 months in which they slow their metabolism significantly.

2. Bats

Bats-Top 10 animals that hibernate

When the temperature drops or food resources are not satisfying, bats go into a state of inertia for whole winter, thus they are the animals that hibernate in winter. Bats are considered to be one of the longest hibernators as their hibernation period can vary from 66 – 344 days! Isn’t it really long period?

Can you imagine the condition of bats during hibernation? They don’t eat at all thorough this period and just drink water. Moreover, they breathe once after 2 hours, not only this, their heartbeat reduces to just 25 from 1000 beats a minute! Really shocking!!!

3. Groundhogs

Groundhogs-Top 10 hibernators

Groundhog (also known as a woodchuck) is very important in our list of top 10 hibernators because this animal is a well-known and true hibernator. It has a reddish-brown coat with a black mask around eyes, which makes its look very unique. Groundhogs enter a state of deep hibernation, which lasts for 4 (sometimes 5) months in winter.

In this time period, these animals rely on the fat reserves in their body that they have stored previously. Their heart rates fall from 100 to only 5 beats per minute with the body temperature from 99 to 37 degrees. Moreover, they just breathe 2 times per minute instead of 16 breathes (normal).

4. Marmots

Marmots-Top 10 hibernators

You must be feeling sleepy or maybe want to rest after knowing about some hibernators! Let’s meet with another interesting animal whose sleep lasts for whole winter! Yes, its marmot whose hibernation period can even last for 8 months!

During this period, their heart rate is just 3 – 4 beats per minute and breathing level is just 2 – 3 breathes a minute. Appearing in brown or grayish color with lighter patches on the face and legs, they live up to 15 years, out of which they spend a big period while resting in underground burrows.

5. Snakes

Snakes-10 hibernating animals

Snakes are very intelligent hibernators (not truly) as they are able to guess the upcoming winter season. They are found on every country, except Antarctica and some remote islands. Being the animals that hibernate in winter, they observe the shorter daylight hours and get ready for hibernating.

As compared to other hibernators, snakes go through a state, called brumation in which they become less active and move slowly. This brumation period can last for weeks or even months depending on the climate. On the related note, got the scoop of the deadliest snakes in the world?

6. Box Turtles

Box turtles-Top 10 animals that hibernate

Box turtles are the hardy reptiles that can burrow underground and start their hibernation by reducing their body functions throughout the winter. Almost all species of turtle (underwater or land) are the part of the list of the animals that hibernate in winter. During winter, they dont shut down fully, in fact, they enter a state, brumation.

Mostly, box turtles hibernate for 3 – 5 months a year, during which their heart rate lowers to 5 – 10 beats per minute even stop breathing completely! However, they keep taking oxygen from surroundings through their skin. Depending upon the changing environment, they can even die if they wake up too early.

7. Wood Frogs

Wood frogs-10 hibernating animals

These tiny amphibians are also known as winter warriors as they survive at very low temperatures for several months. 35 – 45 (sometimes 65) percent of its body becomes frozen (ice crystals are formed in their blood) during its hibernation period. They continue their rest in woods, or burrows until summer arrives to warm them up.

Wood frogs have very smooth skin, which appears in brown or greenish-brown color, flecked with darker spots. These are the hibernators whose heart stops beating completely in late winter and early spring. They go into hibernation by cuddling deep into the leafy blanket covering the forest floor.

8. Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemurs

Fat tailed dward lemur-Top 10 hibernators

The fat-tailed dwarf lemur is a primate that hibernates during the dry season when water is very uncommon. It is the only known primate to hibernate for more than 24 hours. It is commonly found in Madagascar where temperature is normally more than 30 degrees, which is very cold period for this primate.

The hibernation way is to find a tree and remain there for around 7 months, until November arrives (rainy season). The hibernation period of fat-tailed dwarf lemur is fully based on its thick tail’s fat (hence fat-tailed) and it can lose upto 50% of the total body weight!

9. Bumblebees

Rusty-Patched Bumblebee

Just like wood frogs, bumblebees are included among the top 10 hibernators that hibernate in winter. Since bees are very small creature, so they can’t fight with intense winter, that’s why we don’t see bees around us in winter because most of them have been died (male and worker bees).

However, not all the bees die, because queen bee hibernates as she has to lay eggs in future. Mostly, it hibernates in some hole in the soil, rotten tree bases, under some stone or leaf litter. Her hibernation continues for 6 – 8 months, after which it is ready to produce a new colony by laying eggs.

10. Snails

Snail pictures

Same like wood frogs and bumblebees, snails are the animals that hibernate in winter, hence completing our search of top 10 hibernators. But it is also found that depending upon intensity of weather, they can also hibernate in summer (called estivation).

The hibernation of snails is very interesting as it has a hibernating bed inside its shell. It simply closes its hole with the skin (composed of slime and chalk) and stops eating for a long time (for years). Living in upper leaf litter of forests, wetlands, old fields, gardens, river banks, and suburbs, snails can hibernate for even 3 years! Isn’t it shocking?

Decoding the Rankings

The top 10 animals that hibernate, mentioned in our list are ranked according to their dramatic biological transformations during winter. For instance bears and bats are ranked on top as they can lower their body temperature and metabolic rate, due to which their hibernation continues for extended periods. After them, groundhogs and marmots are placed according to their hibernation states and reduced physiological functions. Continuing the journey, wood frogs, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, snakes and turtles are ranked as their hibernation is quite different and shorter.


The credit of longest hibernation period goes to Arctic ground squirrel that can hibernate for up to 7 to 8 months in a year.

The only reason to hibernate is to conserve energy to survive during the periods, when environmental conditions are not good for survival. Animals lower their metabolic rate and reduce their need for food during hibernation to endure harsh conditions.

It is dependent on the species and environmental conditions. However, it can last from a few days to several months and sometimes years.

Locations for hibernation can be different for different animals. Common hibernation sites include underground burrows, caves, rock crevices, tree hollows, and dens.

Mudassar Ahmad

He is a seasoned blogger since 2012 and an M.Phil graduate in English Linguistics. He captivates readers with his eloquent prose and insightful perspectives. His passion for language and dedication to crafting compelling content make him a trusted voice in the online sphere. Explore the world through Ahmad's literary lens.

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