The Snow has been piling up around our Wildlife center this December! Our warm-blooded birds roosting in the outdoor aviaries are dressed for success, and we help them have a comfortable season by clearing the ice and snow from their perches and roof, providing cozy shelters from the elements and plenty of food their bodies break down into heat!
(You and our ambassador birds have that in common – we’re all ‘warm-Blooded’ creatures – meaning we warm ourselves from the inside! We can make our own heat… from the food we eat… how neat!)
But not all animals are so fortunate. To be ‘cold-blooded’ doesn’t mean that you are cold all the time – but you cannot make body heat to warm yourself – you must seek the heat from the world around you. In the cold, dark days of December, there’s just not enough heat outside to seek out. This is why we don’t see turtles or fireflies frollicking in the snow – it’s far too cold for them to play!
Instead, these creatures slow down and chill out (pardon the pun!) for the season, similar to hibernating mammals. Reptiles will ‘Brumate’ – they burrow underground (to avoid the frost), and can go without eating, drinking, or defecating for quite a long time! Insects will enter a state of torpor, their own version of suspension or sleep.
Here at Chewonki, as blustery cold as it may be outdoors, our indoor Wildlife Center is kept warm, humid, and merry, for the comfort of our Cold-blooded companions. Our resident Box Turtles, lizards and snakes have been basking under their heat lamps, munching on balanced, vitamin-enriched meals, and soaking in warm water baths to keep them healthy and active.
And they’ve been working hard as educational ambassadors as well! We have been spreading knowledge and cheer all month with online educational programming for various schools and organizations.
December might bring the darkest days of the year… but we fill those spaces with light and song and community, a different kind of warmth to carry us through the bitter chill. From all of us here at Chewonki, we’re wishing you a Happy New Year, and ever-brighter days ahead!