Ask the Modern Expert: Hibernation vs. Torpor

“Ask the Modern Expert” is a new blog series created to answer seasonally-focused questions we receive from our customers. Please feel free to share your question on Modern’s Facebook page and we’ll consult with our experts to get it answered.

Question: What’s the difference between hibernation and torpor?

Answer: Hibernation is a voluntary state of sleep in which an animal’s breathing slows down and its body temperature lowers for a period of days or weeks depending on certain circumstances. In the winter, hibernation helps animals conserve food at a time when food options are limited. Daily Torpor, which is sometimes called “temporary hibernation”, is more of an unplanned, short-term state of decreased physiological activity that occurs as often as every day and only for a few hours at a time. Torpor helps animals survive during periods of intense cold and it’s a bit like an animal passing out in response to being too cold; the animal appears dead, but if warmed up, it would become active again. In New England, birds and some mammals such as bats, squirrels and mice go through torpor during the winter months. On a related note, when an animal enters a hibernation-like state during the summer months, it’s known as estivation.

Modern Pest Services Expert: Dick Vautrinot
Dick has been with Modern for 2 years and has helped train personnel, develop workflow and sales procedures and build our Wildlife Control Division. Before joining Modern, Dick owned and operated his own nuisance wildlife control business for 20 years where he developed exclusion techniques specifically for bats and birds and created an extensive video and photo library documenting all phases of wildlife control. Dick holds wildlife licenses in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Modern’s Wildlife Control Division offers exclusion, trapping, remediation, damage repair and construction services throughout New England.

Do you have any wildlife questions for Dick? If so, post them on Modern’s Facebook page

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