Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Keep Your Cool

Posted by  //  August 17, 2020  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Ever wonder how animals deal with the heat when the mercury rises?  After all, they cannot retreat to an air conditioned room.  Nevertheless, they have interesting ways to “keep their cool!”

Honeybees keep their hives cool by beating their wings to fan the larvae and one another.  If they begin to overheat while collecting nectar, they look for a water source to take a dip (you may have noticed them taking advantage of your birdbath).  Cold-blooded animals like snakes are at a higher risk for overheating due to their dependence on the environment for thermoregulation.  When the temperatures soar, they seek out cooler places under rocks, inside logs or underground.  Ducks have broad, webbed feet that help them to swim well while working to keep the birds from overheating.  As they paddle around, blood vessels in the feet are exposed to water that is cooler than the air.  Veins carry the cooled blood up the legs, while arteries carrying warmer blood travel down to the feet.  This process is called a ‘counter current.’  Squirrels have sweat glands between their paw pads and their toes – who knew?!  Owls and herons quiver their throat muscles to expose the membranes to the air, which helps with evaporative cooling.  

How are you staying cool this summer?

Article & Photo by Margie Manthey

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