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Wildlife in New England Winters



Although you may be inclined to think not much is happening during winter in Massachusetts (in regards to the wildlife that live here), truth be told, there's a lot happening! Over time, wildlife has adapted to the change in temperature and the scarce food supply to survive cold months; they've been doing so for thousands of years. But, what do they actually do during the winter months? Keep reading to find out.

What does wildlife do when the weather gets cold?

To cope with New England winters, which can be unpredictable at times, animals instinctively know how to prepare for the cold. It's part of their animalistic nature to intuitively know when to prep for winter, what to do when food supplies become scarce, and how to stay alive until spring.


During this time, animals' metabolisms slow down to accommodate for the lack of nutrients they'll be consuming. According to Cape Wildlife Center, "Their body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate and metabolic rate slow down," which allow them to conserve energy for basal functionality. Animals also become more stationary and reduce their travel distances. Some animals hibernate and some just lay low.


Prior to winter's harsh conditions hitting New England, animals also bulk up with an extra layer of fat to protect them during the periods of time when food supply is low (Mass.gov). Additionally, their overindulgences help to keep them warm and protected from bitter external elements.


With that said, Massachusetts wildlife chooses to focus on a handful of activities as survival mechanisms.

Main priorities of wildlife during winter:

  • Maintaining a stable body temperature

  • Finding food supply

  • Conserving energy

  • Creating habitats out of dead forest cover

  • Staying safe from potential predators


At Crawford Land Management, our team is well educated on wildlife behavior and tendencies year round, but especially during the colder months when animals are not as active. We account for wildlife when handling restoration projects in the winter, and always consciously regard the environment and all animals during the ecological groundwork we do.


If you have any questions about how we handle wildlife during our projects, please contact Crawford Land Management at 508.477.1346 or email us at info@crawfordlm.com to learn more.



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