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Close up image of a very tired black bear, sleeping on a log

The Winter Survival Guide for Hudson Valley Animals

Which animal can freeze solid, with no heartbeat for months, and come back to life in hours? Here are some stunners about winter hibernation

by Reed Sparling

Hibernating sounds simple (and appealing): Just stuff yourself with rich foods like nuts all fall, then crawl into a cozy underground den and ride out the winter unconscious.

The animals of the Hudson Valley actually have more complex, and varied, approaches to surviving the winter than you might ever imagine. The biological processes they depend on for surviving frigid temperatures are unique to each species — and in some cases, mind-boggling to us humans.

Which animal preps by eating the equivalent of a 15-lb. steak every day of autumn? Who manages to hibernate high in a tree, and who chooses the bottom of a pond? Who can legendarily sleep for up to seven months straight? And our favorite: Who freezes solid, with no heartbeat, but comes back to life within hours in spring?

Here are some wild facts about how various valley critters, from birds to bees to fish to mammals, manage to stay alive.

Illustrations: Jo-Anne Asuncion

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