Wildlife

How nature helps wildlife survive the harshness of winter

Humans generally aren’t bothered too much with cold weather, as long as it is reasonable. Layers of clothing, insulation for the home, modern, well-stocked supermarkets and several semi-affordable sources of home heating energy allow us to survive even the most inclement weather.

But what about wildlife? How can wild animals cope with such extended bitter cold conditions?

Nature is generally a wonderful provider. She takes great pains, through the evolutionary process, to ensure that every species is capable of survival within the environmental niche it has evolved into. Either that, or nature will send that species into the oblivion we call extinction and tailor another to fill the void.

That is the real meaning of “survival of the fittest,” and it is the most unbendable law of nature.

Almost everyone knows that whitetail deer have “hollow” hairs that help them survive the cold. But not everyone understands how a hollow hair can perform that service.

Deer have hollow air that helps trap warmth and insulate during the cold of winter.

Dead air space, like the air trapped between the glass layers of a double-pane window or between the outer and inner walls of a house, is the key. Hollow hairs have still air inside that helps hold in warm body heat and keep out winter’s chill.

At the same time, the close-lying hairs trap even more air around them, adding to their insulation abilities.

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