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Brumation: winter is coming for reptiles

  • Prelims: Ecosystem Brumation
  • Mains: GS 3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Why in News ?

  • An alligator observed lying still underwater with only its snout visible may not necessarily be dead; it could be undergoing brumation.

 About Brumation:

  • Brumation is a period of dormancy in reptiles, akin to hibernation in mammals, that occurs during colder months when temperatures fall and food is scarce.
  • This state allows reptiles to conserve energy by significantly slowing their metabolism, enabling them to survive without food for extended periods.
  • During brumation, reptiles often retreat to places like underground burrows or rock crevices where temperatures are more stable.
  • This behaviour has been noted in various reptilian species, including box and painted turtles, snakes, and lizards, which find refuge in environments ranging from mud at the bottom of bodies of water to underground dens or caves.
  • Brumation is essential for reptiles to weather cold temperatures and scarce food 

Source: TH


PYQ/ FAQ related to Topic: 

Consider the following : 
1. Bats
2. Bears
3. Rodents The phenomenon of hibernation can be observed in which of the above kinds of animals? ( CSE 2014 )
A) 1 only
B) 2 only
C) 1, 2 ,3
D) cannot be observed in any kind
Ans : C) 1, 2 ,3
  • Explaination :
    • Hibernation :
      • It is an inactive state resembling deep sleep in which certain animals living in cold climates pass the winter.
      • In hibernation, the body temperature is lowered and breathing and heart rates slow down.
      • It protects the animal from cold and reduces the need for food during the season when food is scarce.
      • Normally, Polar bears, Rodents, and Bats are some animals that show hibernation.
      • Recently, a new research in zebrafish has demonstrated how induced hibernation (torpor) may protect humans from the elements of space, especially radiation, during space flight.

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