Ussurian tube-nosed bats (Murina ussuriensis) hibernating in snow

Tinuku - Surviving winter is a challenge for endothermic animals living at high latitudes. In bats, some species migrate to milder climates in winter, but others presumably stay and hibernate in thermally buffered roosts.

However, scientists know little about where, or in what roosts bats hibernate. Ussurian tube-nosed bats (Murina ussuriensis) have occasionally been observed under or near the surface of snow.

Tinuku Ussurian tube-nosed bats (Murina ussuriensis) hibernating in snow

Hirofumi Hirakawa of the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Sapporo and Yu Nagasaka of the Hokkaido Research Organization at Bibai documented Ussurian tube-nosed bats hibernation behavior in the winter for the first time. Researchers report findings to Scientific Reports.

“We collected the details of those accounts and used our own observations to conclude that these bats hibernate in snow. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of hibernation in snow for bats, and second for mammals, following polar bears (Ursus maritimus) denning in snow,” says Hirakawa and colleagues.