Migration, hibernation and food storage are all responses to changes in weather. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, hormonal changes activate the animal’s instinct to prepare for winter.
As the snow begins to fall, some animals trade their brown summer fur for a white winter coat. From weasels to caribou, here are six animals that change their appearance with the seasons.
Weasels are active forest predators that burrow into the underground burrows of voles and mice, which contain up to 80% of their diet. Although weasels are found all over the world, only those in the Northern Hemisphere change color.
Three species of weasel change color: least weasel (Mustela nivalis), the long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata) and the short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea). The short-tailed weasel, or stoat, begins with a summer coat of reddish-brown fur with a white underbelly. When winter comes, the black fur molts and is replaced by white fur. It starts with the animal stomach, chest and throat and gradually spread towards its backleaving a black tip on the tip of its tail.
These white weasels blend into their snowy background, creating the perfect camouflage for hiding prey and hiding from predators such as owls, hawks and wolves.
arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) live in some of the harshest places on Earth, the Arctic tundra, where temperatures very low and the summer is very short. In summer, the Arctic fox has short, thin, gray-gray fur that gradually changes to thick, white fur all over its body and blends in with the snow in the tundra. Like weasels, they depend on their fur camouflage but also for DIVIDED during cold weather.
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Of those 40 known species of hare, only six change color in the winter. Among them is the snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), the Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) and the mountain hare (Lepus timidus).
Snowshoe hares are named after their large, furry feet supporting their weight on top of the thick snow. They live in Canada and the northernmost part of the US In the spring and summer, they wear dark-gray-and-brown fur coats that make them invisible against the background of dirt and rocks. As the days get shorter, their fur coats gradually turn white for the winter.
Ptarmigans are small birds that live in regions from the Arctic tundra to the boreal forests of North America and Eurasia. Three species change color in winter: the rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mura), the white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) and the willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus).
All three species have furry feet that help them walk in the snow. This dark-brown plumage gradually turns white to cover the birds in the snow. However, male rock ptarmigans the females keep their white coats in the court until the breeding season ends in midsummer. To hide from predators, males may regularly bathe in dust that covers their white feathers.
Russian dwarf hamster
In the grassy fields of Kazakhstan, northern China and Russia lives a small hamster commonly known as a household pet.
Russian dwarf hamster (Phodopus sungorus) round hamsters that can be brown and gray with light underbellies. Some have a distinctive dorsal stripe that runs from their head to the back of their tail.
They are known as “white winter” hamsters because their thin, black fur is replaced by thick, white fur when the temperature drops and the days get shorter. captivitytheir fur coats rarely shed, probably because the artificial light used in the enclosures does not mimic the shorter days of winter.
Peary caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi is a species of flowering plant) is a type of caribou found only in the Canadian Arctic archipelago. They tread deep water between small islands and graze on grass and moss, using their broad, shovel-like claws to eat the snow.
They have two layers of hair: a thick base layer and another layer of longer, finer hairs called guard hair. Their long outer hairs are hollow to trap warm air inside for insulation and protect the thick undercoat from abrasion. Peary caribou are usually covered in white fur but have a slate-gray back that turns a fair brown in summer. In winter, their fur turns completely white.
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