Photo - Mark Dumont (Flikr)


Usually we associate hibernation
with animals living in cold regions in winter conditions. But the
tenrec is the first known tropical mammal found to hibernate for
long stretches without waking normal mammals periodically arouse
for 12 to 24 hours before going back into hibernation!


It's a good indication that tenrec
ancestors were also heavy sleepers, capable of hibernating through
something as catastrophic as the event that wiped out the
dinosaurs. To put it into perspective, a trip to Mars would take
about nine months, equivalent to the time that the male tenrec
hibernated. We imagine the ancestors had a very big surprise when
they eventually woke up! But we are sure the hedgehog like
character felt hugely refreshed and full of energy after that
mammoth deep sleep!


The findings were published in the
journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.