Who doesn't love a morning when nothing is going on and the whole family can sleep in?  In the fall and winter months, our bodies call us to relax and sleep a bit longer as the days get shorter and the air gets cooler. Animals feel this pull to sleep longer during these seasons too, but for some of them, they sleep the entire season away! This is called hibernation and you can learn more about it with your family.

Before hibernating animals can snooze away the winter, they have to pack on the pounds. The extra fat helps them to survive during a time when there is little or no food. So, the fall months are busy for the animals who are at work finding food to eat.

For big hibernating animals, like brown bears, it takes a lot of eating to prepare for hibernation. At Katmai National Park in Alaska, they celebrate Fat Bear Week. Fat Bear Week is an annual competition to determine which bear is the largest in order to advance  to the next round. Voting begins October 5th and concludes on the 11th . Jump online to vote for your favorite fat bears until one is crowned the champion.

While you’re at it, check out these books about hibernation:

Looking for more hibernation-inspired activities? Try having a family pajama night where everyone snuggles in together for a movie and favorite snacks. Building a fort is optional. You can also go on a nature walk to observe how animals in your backyard or on  trails are preparing for winter. For example, can you see squirrels hiding away food for the winter months? Do you notice fewer birds around because they have flown south?

Here’s to more cozy nights in with family and friends as we transition to a new season.

   Youth Services Assistant Librarian Karen