It’s days like today that make me thankful for cozy houses and puffy coats. But, what about animals? They can’t snuggle under a blanket or turn up the thermostat. How do they survive when the temperature drops?

It turns out that animals have eight traits to help them survive when winter turns Missouri into a deep freeze. Animals migrate, congregate, pupate, hibernate, excavate, insulate, generate and terminate to deal with the cold. It’s easy to remember these eight traits because they all end with the same three letters: A-T-E. You can read all about the eight “ates” in the newest issue of Xplor. But, if you can’t wait, here’s a critter-tested, human-approved “ate” to help you toler-ATE today’s cold clim-ATE.


This time of year, anytime you head outside, one of your parents is bound to yell, “Don’t forget your coat!” Here’s why you should listen to them. Your body turns the food you eat into heat to keep you warm. If you go outside without a coat, that heat flows quickly into the outside air or gets blown away by the wind. Within minutes, you’re freezing. Coats insulate—they provide a puffy barrier between your body and the air. This barrier slows the escape of heat, keeping you snuggly.

Critters don’t wear puffy coats, but they do have something just as good to insulate their bodies: fur and feathers. Foxes and other mammals grow thick fur coats to keep them cozy. Birds fluff up their feathers to trap warm air next to their skin. Take a peek at how puffy the cardinal looks in the picture above!

Check back on Wednesday for two more “ates” to help you survive this week's cold snap.