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Heart Beats for Wildlife

Feb 13, 2009

With Valentine’s Day near, it seems a natural time to get to the heart of the matter. First, I want to pass on a fun Web link for you to consider for a wildlife valentine E-card from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: http://www.fws.gov/letsgooutside

HummingbirdAnd in the spirit of the season, I offer an eclectic mix of facts that may pique your interest related to hearts and wildlife from a mix of web sources. Did you know that:

Hummingbirds' hearts beat at 1,260 beats per minute (bpm) in the day and 50 bpm at night.

Groundhogs normally have heartbeats at 160 per minute, but when they’re overwintering it slows to just 4 bpm.

The hognose snake plays dead by flipping over on its back. At the same time its heartrate can drop from 50-80 beats per minute to just 3-15 bpm.

(Opossums play dead, too, with the heart rated slowed…but I haven’t got a pulse check on the rate change.)

When a bat hibernates, its heart rate is 8 bpm, down from the usual 210 bpm.

Turkeys by comparison beat at 93 bpm.

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