Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Reptile Hibernation

Name: Sammy
Status: student
Grade: K-3
Location: VA
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2011


Question:
When reptiles hibernate do they feel dead?



Replies:
Sammy:

Do you mean does the animal itself feel like it is dead? Or do you mean does it feel dead to us when we touch it? The answer to both is, no. If you were to pick up a hibernating snake, for instance, it would feel cold, but it would not be stiff as it would be if dead, and if you handled it it would begin to stir. We really can't say how the animal itself feels, they are enough different from us that we can't know exactly how their brains sense their environment, especially in hibernation which is not like anything humans experience.

J. Elliott


I can't imagine what it would be like to "feel dead." More likely, they are unconscious or drowsy, possibly like a deep sleep.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D., M.Ed. Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Wyoming


Hi Sammy,

It is always very hard to know how someone else feels. Even when we are alive, humans constantly get the message wrong about each other's feelings. I pretty sure we will be guessing if we say we know how another animal feel, and none of us knows what being dead feels like. (At least not so they can tell anyone!).

When a lizard hibernates, I imagine it would be about the same as when you sleep - no feelings at all - just time passing and then you wake up when it's all over.

Keep up the questions. I love to see busy minds at work.

Nigel Skelton Lab Technician Barkly College - Secondary Tennant Creek NT AUSTRALIA


Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory