Thursday, November 02, 2006


It's that time of year again. I'm thinking of gaining a lot of weight and watching TV and sleeping for the next 6 months or so.
I have been thinking about what animals hibernate and checked it out, the list is pretty short. It's just the ground squirrel types (chipmunks, lemurs ect.), bears, bats, frogs, turtles, skunks, marmots, raccoons, earthworms (!) and snails. I would think that earthworms do not include C.elgans and I couldn't find anything on C.elegans hibernation. There are other forms of hibernation called torpor and estivation, so maybe these are present in more primitive organisms.
Apparently my pet bunny is not supposed to hibernate. If it is showing symptoms of hibernation, I read that I should take it to the vet.
What I ran into that was interesting, however, is that hibernation can be induced in a non-hibernating species using hydrogen sulphide. Apparently it a reversible and harmless process. And it suggests that humans may also possess this latent ability to hibernate. The applications of course are interesting and include getting astronauts to hibernate for those extra long journeys to Mars and for medical purposes.
AUDIO: Quirks and Quarks interviews researchers in the field of hibernation and induced hibernation . (mp3)


Bayman said...

Where do I get me some hydrogen sulphide?

kamel said...

From rotten eggs. I don't think it's actually hibernation, just a coma induced by the stench.

Anonymous Coward said...

Does your bearded dragon brumate Kamel?

TL said...

Start by visiting the liquid manure holding pits.

kamel said...

I can't say that it's brumation for sure, but it definitely can be pretty lethargic!

Anonymous said...

Hillbilly Bunny is the cutest non-hibernating animal ever!