Bat research by Israeli scientist alters concepts on mammal hibernation

The sleeping habits of a tiny bat may change our understanding of mammalian hibernation, Israeli researchers say.

Hibernation was believed to occur only in low temperatures, as mammals sleep through three to nine months of cold and hazardous winter with a very low heart rate and body temperature.

But this is not the case in two species of the mouse-tailed bat (the Rhinopoma microphyllum and the R. Cystops). Tel Aviv University researchers who were trying to find where these bats disappear every winter discovered them hibernating in warm caves with temperatures of 68°F (20 degrees Celsius) in the Syria-African Rift, a northern extension of Africa’s Rift Valley.


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