Saving energy is an important way to help slow down climate change, but it isn’t always easy. If you’re looking for some inspiration to help you reach your energy goal, look to the animal kingdom! Check out these animals that go on low power mode during the summer and be inspired to save energy in your home!
Just when you thought these guys couldn’t get any slower, they have a surprise for you: they can! When it gets too hot during the day, many land snails take a “dryness sleep” and slow all their body functions down. During this time, they will close their shell with a membrane of dried mucus (yuck!). This protects them from the elements and keeps them from drying out in the heat.
We’re not talking about your spiky pet; we’re talking about wild hedgehogs from Africa! These hedgehogs are used to a hot, dry climate—but when the temperature rises too high and the earth gets too dry, their food gets harder to find. Instead of starving, they will go into hiding and slow their body functions right down to save energy. While they’re hiding, hedgehogs live off fat stored in their bodies until the outside conditions are better.
Turtles and Tortoises
Some turtles and tortoises aren’t fans of the hottest or driest part of the summer. Tortoises will look for an open burrow or a spot under logs or rocks, while turtles will swim down and hide in the muddy bottom of a pond or river. During this time, these shelled reptiles won’t move or eat, and their heartbeat and breathing will drop from 20-30 times a minute all the way down to once a minute or less.
When it gets too hot and dry outside, some crocodiles will dig caves in river banks and hide out in them to beat the heat. Not only is the temperature in the cave cooler than the outside, it’s also a safe space for them to settle down until the weather gets better. This can mean several months without food so they need to do everything they can to save energy. During this time, they’ll drop their heart rate, breathing and body temperature, surviving only on the fat and water they have stored in their body.
During the dry season in Africa, ponds and rivers can dry up. This can mean trouble for most fish, but not the African lungfish! They have special lungs that allow them to breathe outside of water. During this time, they will burrow deep in the mud and create a cocoon of mucus around them, which helps them keep moist. They can stay this way for up to 2 years, feeding off the muscle in their tail, but thankfully they don’t have to wait that long. After a few months the season changes, rain comes back and the lungfish can return to the water.
These animals take being energy efficient to a whole new level! The survival of many animals and plants depends on their ability to only use energy when they need it. The same is true for us humans—the better we are at using our energy wisely by saving energy in our homes and using renewable energy, the healthier our planet will be.
Be inspired by these energy-saving animals and go save energy at home!
Generously sponsored by:
Stefoff, Rebecca. Turtles. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (2008). Pg 39. Accessed July 23, 2019. Available at: https://bit.ly/2JYAwAe
Warwick, Hugh. Hedgehogs. London: Reaktion books ltd (2014). Accessed July 23, 2019. Available at: https://bit.ly/2OdgO9a