Hibernation in Free-Ranging African Woodland Dormice, Graphiurus murinus
Although daily torpor is common in African animals, hibernation seems to be uncommon. In this study we investigated the use of hibernation in free-ranging African woodland dormice, Graphiurus murinus, during winter. We also investigated if this species made any seasonal adjustments to basal metabolic rates. G. murinus were heterothermic on a 100% of the measurement days. The minimum body temperature recorded was 1.5°C and the longest torpor bout without arousal was 8 days. There were no significant differences in basal metabolic rates between seasons and the measured values were similar to those previously reported in laboratory studies. We conclude that hibernation is the main adjustment that G. murinus utilise to deal with challenging winter conditions.
KeywordsBasal Metabolic Rate Torpor Bout Passive Heating Bout Length Daily Torpor
This study was supported by a Thuthuka grant from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. Any opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this material are those of the authors and therefore the NRF does not accept any liability in regard thereto. Mr Brad Fike graciously hosted us and assisted with logistics at the Great Fish River Reserve (GFRR). The Eastern Cape Parks Board granted permission to work at GFRR.
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