News > These Arctic squirrels recycle bits of their own bodies to survive winter

These Arctic squirrels recycle bits of their own bodies to survive winter

17/12/2020 07:19 PM | Click to read full article

Arctic ground squirrels can survive harsh winters with below-freezing temps by holing up for some eight months without eating. These hibernators live at the most extreme edge of existence, just barely hovering over death.

By recycling nutrients from their muscles, the squirrels sustain themselves and also avoid a toxic consequence of muscle breakdown. During hibernation, nitrogen would otherwise end up in ammonia, which could build up to potentially deadly levels