QuikPic: Virginia Bear

Lately, you may have noticed the bears are harder to find on exhibit. Our black bears don’t actually hibernate- it’s not cold enough in Durham but they do slow down a lot! Typically, you can find Gus and Mimi in or by the cave and Virginia and Yona spend their days up on the cliff. You may be able to see a big bear body if you use the camera. Here’s a picture of Virginia sitting up in her comfyRead more

What do they do when it’s cold?

Hi everybody! Now the time has come once again for the tank tops, flip flops and short shorts to get packed up again for the season (that’s okay, I don’t look so good in short shorts anyway).  The end of fall is gone and we’re officially into winter.  The weather has been remarkably warm for this time of year, but we’re past Thanksgiving have even knocked out the big holiday part of the year.  That’s right, the buy Mikey presentsRead more

It’s Time For Hiberna…..zzzzzzzzzz

It’s around that time when Wendy the Woodchuck is slowing down and getting ready for hibernation. She is the only animal that we have that goes into a true hibernation. She does this even though she’s inside a warm cozy building. Although the temperature in her exhibit will not change much throughout the seasons, her body still tells her it is time to take a long nap for the winter. The reason for this is because studies show that animalsRead more

Born Free, Bat Free!

A few months ago we discovered we had an uninvited guest living on the 3rd floor of the Museum of Life + Science. During the cold of winter a big brown bat, Eptesicus fuscus, was found snoozing near some storage areas in the museum’s attic. We did not release the bat immediately because the likelihood of it surviving was very low. This species normally hibernates much of the winter and would not normally be seen outside in colder months. Luckily,Read more

Big Word: Chronobiology

Chronobiology is the study of cyclical patterns of behavior and physiology in organisms. Humans are very familiar with daily rhythms like our sleep/wake cycle. Scientists refer to these daily changes as circadian (which means “about a day” in Latin). Most mammals have roughly 24 cycles in their metabolism rates which are reflected in changes like body temperature (see figure below), wakefulness, and hunger. The daily behavioral rhythms we observe in organisms result from an interplay between internal physiological processes calledRead more