Other Amazing Adaptations
Hibernation and torpor aren't the only survival skills that mammals have. There are many, many more...
Color change: The snowshoe hare and short-tailed weasel are brilliant examples of mammals that change fur color seasonally, but other local animals undergo similar (but more subtle) changes. The eastern cottontail, gray squirrel, and white-tailed deer all grow coats that are grayer in color. This helps them better blend in with the winter landscape. Deer also grow a coat with hollow hairs. These hairs trap more air, which serves as a fantastic insulator.
Safety in numbers: Some creatures, like deer mice, skunks, and raccoons, huddle together to conserve body heat.
Brown fat: During the fall, most of our overwintering mammals began to store energy in a special type of fat called brown fat. This energy rich fat helps generate body heat and counteract freezing temperatures. Humans have brown fat too, but only as infants.
Stored food: Red and gray squirrels have both buried nuts and seeds for the long winter. In between searching for their hidden goodies, both species may sleep in their nests for several days during especially cold weather. The eastern chipmunk has also cached food, but it stores it in underground burrows. Chipmunks will sleep in these chambers for weeks at a time, waking to nibble on their collected food.