Do Lizards Hibernate? This Is Why They Disappear In The Winter | Kidadl


Do Lizards Hibernate? This Is Why They Disappear In The Winter

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Similar to other small reptiles, lizard species in colder regions need to hibernate until spring arrives.

Lizards are generally friendly animals. Pet lizard hibernation is also possible, and owners can help lizards to easily survive through a cold climate.

Lizards are cold-blooded reptiles, and over 6,000 lizard species are spread across the world except for in Antarctica. Lizards can be of any size, from small gecko and chameleon species to large species, such as Komodo dragons. Lizards are carnivorous animals, and they use a sit-and-wait technique to catch their prey. Small lizards feed on small insects, and larger species can eat water buffaloes and many other small animals. All lizards require an adequate amount of sunlight in the day to regulate their body temperature. Most lizard species can walk and run on all four limbs, while some can glide along with usual skill. A few lizards are even legless and move on the ground like a snake! To escape predators, lizards will drop their tails. They also use venom, reflex bleeding, and camouflage to stay safe from predators. Like in most mammals and snakes, the vomeronasal organ (part of the olfactory system) of lizards detects pheromones. Lizards use their senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Lizards are territorial, and males often fight to establish their territories. The majority of lizard species are up and about in the day, but some are nocturnal, such as geckos.

If you enjoy reading these facts about whether lizards hibernate, then make sure to read some more interesting facts about if lizards bite and if lizards lay eggs here at Kidadl.

Do lizards go into hibernation?

Yes, some lizards do hibernate.

Just like many mammals, wild lizards need to go into hibernation in a cold climate to stay warm. These cold-blooded creatures survive freezing temperatures by entering a state called hibernation or brumation. As ectotherms, lizards maintain their body temperatures by mimicking their environment. Hibernating is a natural instinct for both captive-bred and wild lizards. Hibernation involves spending the winter months in a dormant state. This is usually termed as brumation to describe this habit in amphibians and reptiles. The scientific definition of brumation is a metabolic process in temperate reptiles during their winter sleep. Many also use the term topor, which better describes a shorter cold period.

Hibernating animal species originate from temperate areas, and tropical animals do not hibernate. Lizards in captivity can also hibernate inside their tanks in the winter months even though they receive a good amount of heat. Your lizard can slip into brumation as the temperature changes, and you can avoid it with consistent feeding, lighting, and the correct temperature. However, this is a natural process, and you should leave your pet alone through it. This is totally safe for a healthy reptile. You might also notice pest lizards in your area disappear in the winter months because house lizards hibernate.

Where do lizards disappear in winter?

Lizards disappear to hibernate during winter.

As lizards maintain their body heat according to their surroundings, in many temperate zones, the weather makes it hard for these animals to survive in the cold. So, their internal activities slow down, and they are unable to run from danger or catch prey with the same agility. Also, they are forced to withdraw due to a lack of food sources. They go into hibernation in a safe place. Most reptiles, like bearded dragons and leopard geckos, will sleep throughout winter in their terrarium enclosure. They will begin feeding on spiders and small insects in early spring.

It is also recommended to keep the water bowl full in your pet's enclosure to avoid dehydration. Lizards come out to keep themselves hydrated. The green anole is a common lizard species that is extensively studied throughout the world. This common lizard stores food before it turns cold and hibernates under bark, logs, barns or houses. Anole lizards are brown in color when hidden under leaves or bark and turn green while basking in the sun. All the factors that impact the color change in these species are not yet understood.

Lizards cannot sustain themselves in freezing, cold temperatures, and they can die if they stay outside. So, even with a slight change in temperature, they will start preparing for hibernation. Their immune systems will not function properly with their digestive systems slowing down. This will also make them vulnerable to diseases and infections. Their skin and eyes will get wrinkly, cracked, and dry.

Lizards are one of the most successful species in the animal kingdom to evolve into different forms and occupy diverse regions around the world.

Where do lizards hibernate?

Lizards hibernate underneath the soil, in deep crevices, in wall cracks, in animal burrows, under a rotting log, or in caves in the wild.

Lizards are wonderful animals that usually adapt well to human environments. They will find suitable hideouts. In places with extremely cold temperatures, lizards need to burrow under the frost zone for them to survive and stay warm throughout this period. Deep crevices around rocks, logs, caves, and animal burrows are ideal spots for lizards to stay warm. Some reptile species, like geckos, will store fat in their tails throughout the year. They will burn this fat in winter and stay alive in winter without food. A few lizards live on trees in regions like Texas and Mexico. These lizards will stay under bark or find a tree that is hollow on the inside.

Lizards found in deserts hibernate for longer than lizards in other regions of the world. Some will go into estivation, which means that lizards enter a state of deep sleep in the summer seasons, spending the summer in dormancy. The constant hot temperatures in the tropics will send lizards into hiding because their bodies cannot handle too much heat. These lizards go and hide in the same places in summer as winter hibernating lizards do, like under rocks and barks. They will not retreat for weeks but only for a few hours in the day when the temperature increases. This will allow lizards to cool their bodies before going out for a hunt. Lizards, like iguanas to green anoles, can easily get into homes too. Lizards hibernate alone; however, there have been reports of group hibernation in some species.

Tree bark and moist tree trunks can provide enough warmth to lizards. Although other animal burrows can be dangerous if any other lizard species are hibernating, they will provide enough warmth for lizards. A space below a moderate -side stone is also a great place for hibernation for small lizards. In houses, they will hide anywhere there is warmth, space, and darkness.

How long do lizards hibernate?

Lizards usually hibernate for three to four months; however, it depends on the cold winters.

The duration of hibernation depends on the temperature of the place where lizards are found. Lizards do not migrate during winter because brumation makes it easier to regulate body temperature. Some lizards species do migrate, like when the ones living on mountains move down to lower regions with freezing temperatures and others move to coastal regions from land areas. In cold regions, lizards will hibernate for between three to four months, which can increase. When the temperature falls to freezing conditions, some lizards can freeze without dying. Places with warmer winters will have lizards that hunt their prey and go back to hibernation when the temperature falls. You can also take in a wild lizard in cold climates and let it go once the temperature goes back to normal. However, they must be captured safely and must not be handled too much. This will not impact the ecosystem if done correctly.

Lizards have a synchronized hibernation cycle. This means that one type of lizard species has its hibernation period fixed. This population of lizards will all go into hibernation at the same time. Some lizard species will also defend their retreat spots for hibernation against other species. If there are no suitable spots for hibernating alone, this population will hibernate in groups. This is more common in extremely cold regions where lizards will stay together to maintain body heat.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestion for 'Do lizards hibernate?', then why not take a look at 'Do lizards have teeth?' or 'Monitor lizard facts'?

If someone on our team is always keen to learn and grow, then it has to be Arpitha. She realized that starting early would help her gain an edge in her career, so she applied for internship and training programs before graduation. By the time she completed her B.E. in Aeronautical Engineering from Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020, she had already gained much practical knowledge and experience. Arpitha learned about Aero Structure Design, Product Design, Smart Materials, Wing Design, UAV Drone Design, and Development while working with some leading companies in Bangalore. She has also been a part of some notable projects, including Design, Analysis, and Fabrication of Morphing Wing, where she worked on new age morphing technology and used the concept of corrugated structures to develop high-performance aircraft, and Study on Shape Memory Alloys and Crack Analysis Using Abaqus XFEM that focused on 2-D and 3-D crack propagation analysis using Abaqus.

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