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Waking From Hibernation, the Hard Work of Spring Begins

For animals that hibernate, making it to spring is no small feat. Torpor — the state of reduced bodily activity that occurs during hibernation — is not restful. By the time they emerge, hibernating animals are often sleep-deprived: Most expend huge bursts of energy to arouse themselves occasionally in the winter so their body temperatures don’t dip too low. This back-and-forth is exhausting, and hibernators do it with little to no food and water. By winter’s end, some have shed more than half their body weight.

A black bear, which has been sedated, and her cub in a den in Massachusetts. Credit Mark Wilson/The Boston Globe, via Getty Images

But just because it’s spring doesn’t mean it’s time to celebrate. Spring means getting ready for the full speed of summer — and after spending a season in slow motion, that requires some ramping up. Here’s a look at what different animals have on the agenda after coming out of winter’s slumber.

A long wake-up for bears

Black bears emerge from their dens in April, but stay lethargic for weeks. During this so-called walking hibernation, they sleep plenty and don’t roam very far. Though they have lost up to one-third of their body weight over winter, they don’t have a huge appetite right away — their metabolism is not yet back to normal. They snack mostly on pussy willows and bunches of snow fleas. [weiter]

The disruption of established weather patterns has put strawberries on festive menus in France, ensured an abundance of game in Germany's woodlands and seen tomatoes ripen for an exceptional third time this year on Italian balconies.

With grass still growing in the north of Scotland well into December, the famous Royal Dornoch links put the traditional switch to winter greens on hold and kept its mowers buzzing into the final days of 2015.

But alongside the serendipitous consequences for gourmets and golfers, unusual climatic conditions have also been linked to more unsettling trends.

Scientists and gardeners alike fret over whether this year reflects a worrying new normal created by .

More than 2,000 wildfires have ravaged swaths of northern Spain in recent weeks thanks to a combination of unusually warm weather and high winds.



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-europe-winter-warmth-nature-tailspin.html#jCp

The disruption of established weather patterns has put strawberries on festive menus in France, ensured an abundance of game in Germany's woodlands and seen tomatoes ripen for an exceptional third time this year on Italian balconies.

With grass still growing in the north of Scotland well into December, the famous Royal Dornoch links put the traditional switch to winter greens on hold and kept its mowers buzzing into the final days of 2015.

But alongside the serendipitous consequences for gourmets and golfers, unusual climatic conditions have also been linked to more unsettling trends.

Scientists and gardeners alike fret over whether this year reflects a worrying new normal created by .

More than 2,000 wildfires have ravaged swaths of northern Spain in recent weeks thanks to a combination of unusually warm weather and high winds.



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-europe-winter-warmth-nature-tailspin.html#jCpAlthough winter lingered in some parts of the country this year, spring is already heating up and scientists see the character of spring changing over the longer term. Such changes go beyond just the temperature ? with significant consequences.Although winter lingered in some parts of the country this year, spring is already heating up and scientists see the character of spring changing over the longer term. Such changes go beyond just the temperature ? with significant consequences. [weiter]

The disruption of established weather patterns has put strawberries on festive menus in France, ensured an abundance of game in Germany's woodlands and seen tomatoes ripen for an exceptional third time this year on Italian balconies.

With grass still growing in the north of Scotland well into December, the famous Royal Dornoch links put the traditional switch to winter greens on hold and kept its mowers buzzing into the final days of 2015.

But alongside the serendipitous consequences for gourmets and golfers, unusual climatic conditions have also been linked to more unsettling trends.

Scientists and gardeners alike fret over whether this year reflects a worrying new normal created by .



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-europe-winter-warmth-nature-tailspin.html#jCp

The disruption of established weather patterns has put strawberries on festive menus in France, ensured an abundance of game in Germany's woodlands and seen tomatoes ripen for an exceptional third time this year on Italian balconies.

With grass still growing in the north of Scotland well into December, the famous Royal Dornoch links put the traditional switch to winter greens on hold and kept its mowers buzzing into the final days of 2015.

But alongside the serendipitous consequences for gourmets and golfers, unusual climatic conditions have also been linked to more unsettling trends.

Scientists and gardeners alike fret over whether this year reflects a worrying new normal created by .



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-europe-winter-warmth-nature-tailspin.html#jCp[read more]
The disruption of established weather patterns has put strawberries on festive menus in France, ensured an abundance of game in Germany's woodlands and seen tomatoes ripen for an exceptional third time this year on Italian balconies.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-europe-winter-warmth-nature-tailspin.html#jCp
The disruption of established weather patterns has put strawberries on festive menus in France, ensured an abundance of game in Germany's woodlands and seen tomatoes ripen for an exceptional third time this year on Italian balconies.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-europe-winter-warmth-nature-tailspin.html#jCpvsvssdasd
The disruption of established weather patterns has put strawberries on festive menus in France, ensured an abundance of game in Germany's woodlands and seen tomatoes ripen for an exceptional third time this year on Italian balconies.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-europe-winter-warmth-nature-tailspin.html#jCp