Nature Ninjas Beechdale Garden Centre

Hibernation – Nature Ninjas

Nature Ninjas on Hibernation

It was a fantastic afternoon on Saturday last as we launched our Nature Ninjas Kids Club and so lovely to see all of you nature lovers here at Beechdale. As there were so many extra people we didn’t have time to go through our Hibernation advice so here’s some information on who hibernates and how our Insect Hotel is going to benefit the many insects that need our help this winter.

What is Hibernation?
Hibernation is the name we give to the way that some animals deal with winter. As their food sources disappear and the weather gets colder they need to save as much of their energy as possible and so they go into a long deep sleep over winter. Usually they will find a cosy place to curl up and their body temperature gets so low that you might think they were dead! Once the weather heats up again they wake up and resume their normal activities. Animals that hibernate are called hibernators.

So who hibernates in Ireland?

There are actually only a small number of animals in Ireland that hibernate such as bats, hedgehogs and (amphibian) frogs.

The Nature Ninjas Insect HotelBats usually eat insects and as there aren’t so many flying about in winter there is no food for the bats, so in order to save their strength they hibernate instead. They like to nest in attics, caves or hollowed trees, they snuggle close together with their wings wrapped closely around them.

Hedgehogs also like to hibernate although if the weather gets a bit warm they will wake up for a snuffle to find some tasty snails or beetles to eat. When hibernating their body temperature drops from their normal 24° Celsius to 4/6° Celsius. Wow!

Frogs like to hibernate just above or partially buried in the mud at the bottom of a pond so they are near the oxygen-rich water. It is quite likely to see one slowly swim around on occasion too!
Frogs rely on the environment around them to regulate their body temperature and this means they are ectothermic. Their bodies reflect the air, ground and water tmeperatures around them – isn’t that pretty amazing!?

Insects – Many insects hibernate over winter as there are fewer flowering plants for them to feed on and this is why we built an insect hotel last weekend 🙂 Insects improve a gardens’ biodiversity – in other words they add to the magic of a garden making it produce more flowers and generally look and smell fabulous. The pollinators (insects that help plants get pollinated, like bees and hoverflies) and pest controllers (insects that eat naughty pests that ruin crops) need a safe cosy place to hibernate and our insect hotel is exactly that! Centipedes, woodlice, beetles and garden spiders love to burrow into dead wood whilst bees like to crawl into cosy hols and snooze away. Old cardboard and straw make the perfect habitat for the intricately beautiful lacewing whilst invertabrates (those with no backbone) will burrow into dry leaves, straw and hay.

Did You Know?

Did you know that an average garden can be home to over 2000 differnt types of insects?!! How many can you spot in your garden?

See you at next months Nature Ninjas on Saturday 14th November. Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for more info >>

how to build an insect hotel