March 6, 2002

Insulating Snow

We all tend to think of snow as pretty cold stuff, but it actually has some insulating thermo properties too. There are all kinds of different snows, some are very wet and tightly packed. Others are dry and fluffy. The drier the snow the more air between the flakes and traped air is often used in the fur and feathers od wildlife to keep them warm.

Some animals, like deer, rabbits, and sled dogs make "forms" in the snow. These are little bedding areas that they either curl up in or back up into. The snow provides them with a little insulating blanket that traps some of their bodies heat.

If the snow is deep enough ruffed grouse will stop roosting in the cover of pine trees and actually fly into snow drifts. There are few things as surprising as walking through a snow covered woods in the early morning and having a grouse unexpectedly explode out of the snow at your feet.

The world is full of ironies. One of them is that some animals actually use snow to stay warm.

March 7, 2002

March 5, 2002