Date: Fall 2011
When reptiles hibernate do they feel dead?
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.
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
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.
Lab Technician Barkly College - Secondary
Tennant Creek NT AUSTRALIA
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Update: June 2012