How Do Animals Change for the Seasons?

Some ways that animals adapt for the seasons include migration, hibernation and physical changes that help them survive the differences in the weather. The changes vary by species and environment.

Many animals migrate to warmer climates when winter sets in. They do this for a variety of reasons, such as the need for warm shelter and to follow their food supply. Birds are known to travel between regular summer and winter habitats. The Arctic Tern travels one of the farthest distances, flying all the way from the North Pole in the summer to Antarctica in the fall. Whales, fish and caribou also migrate regularly.

Animals that do not migrate often go into a period of dormancy, or hibernation, during the winter months, awakening again in the spring. Bears, skunks and other mammals go into a deep sleep where their heart rate slows down and they use little energy, surviving off the fat they stored up in the previous months. Reptiles also go into a period of hibernation where they remain in their burrows in an effort to preserve their body temperatures.

Other animals such as deer, foxes, squirrels and other forest creatures adapt to life in the colder weather. Some of them remain active, feeding on the shrubs, bark and berries they find left on the plants. Others spend part of the spring and fall storing up food to live off of during the barren winter months.