Posts Tagged ‘winter dormancy’

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Does This Fur Make Me Look Fat? Woodchucks In Winter

woodchuckFat gets a bad rap in the medical world, for good reason. Excessive body fat is linked to a litany of health risks, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.  Yet in the realm of nature, fat is a lifesaver. If certain mammals that hibernate did not get fat, they would be dead by spring.

The woodchuck is something of a fat specialist. As many an irate gardener can attest, the woodchuck’s diet consists of perishable greens. Because these can’t be stored, the animal stockpiles all the food energy it needs to survive winter in a thick layer of body fat. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Adirondack Wildlife: Black Bear Bones

bear_bonesDeep in the winter-dark woods, beneath the roots of a fallen tree, a mother black bear hibernates with her two yearling cubs. In the spring, they will wake up in a near starvation condition, their fat reserves depleted. The mother bear’s bones, however, will be as strong and as thick as the day she lay down, and her young may even have added bone mass over the winter.

Bears are the only animals known to maintain their bone mass during prolonged periods of inactivity. To consider what a feat this is, consider humans’ susceptibility to bone loss: astronauts who spend six months in the weightless environment of space can lose nearly ten percent of their bone mass, and people forced to spend several months in bed may experience similar declines.

So why are bears different? And what can we learn from their biochemical processes that may help us treat osteoporosis and other bone diseases? » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Ed Kanze: The Strange Case of The Frozen Frogs

ed_kanze_frogThis is a story of fire and ice in which the ice comes first. Two frogs are found by a class of school kids, the amphibians frozen in the ice covering a pond.

Were the frogs alive, and if so, what came of them? Listen here as I tell a tale of joy, sorrow, and irony in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze. » Continue Reading.



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