Written by: Jim Knox Curator of Education at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo
The frigid blast hit me the instant I stepped outside. While two degrees Fahrenheit was not surprising for a January morning in New England, it was bracing. Before I eased into the comfort of my warming car, I gazed around me, sweeping from north, to east, and then south. I thought of the Whitetail deer and the Red-shouldered hawks in the forest and wetland surrounding me and how they would need to eat to generate vital body heat to survive the freezing day ahead and even colder night to follow. I then thought of the countless woodland denizens who would sleep off the coldest and harshest months of the year, safe, secure, and warm…or at least relatively warm…beneath the frost line of the rock-hard ground. One among these creatures, a cousin from the far north, immediately came to mind.