How does hibernation work?

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With autumn approaching, many animals in the northern hemisphere are stocking their fat reserves to make it through winter hibernation.

Hibernation is a near suspension of body functions and metabolism, and is different to sleep.  It allows animals to save energy during times when food is scarce.  Different animals produce a hibernation-specific protein at certain times of the year, telling them when to hibernate.  Through the winter, animals do occasionally wake up for short periods, but quickly return to their sleepy state.

Read through the infographic below to learn more… (you can click on it to see a larger version)

hibernation explained infographic 600wSource