As a general rule the animals on ARKive don’t wear jumpers, but to mark the launch of Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day today, we thought we would highlight a few species that could perhaps do with one.! We’ve also unearthed a plant that surprisingly seems to take part in Christmas Jumper Day all year round…
As a small mammal living in a temperate climate, one of the main challenges the common dormouse faces in life is maintaining its body temperature. An adult dormouse has to hibernate for up to seven months of the year to survive the colder months so it can’t be too much fun for a hairless newborn. Fortunately a cosy nest will protect the baby dormice which spend the first ten weeks of their life with their mother.
If there was a competition for the animal most in need of a new wardrobe, the award would probably go to the naked mole rat every time. The naked mole rat controls its body temperature by moving to different parts of its burrow according to the temperature, with the tunnels closer to the surface being warmer. It is just as well as it may take more than a Christmas jumper for this tunnel dweller to be considered ‘cute’.
Cold and wet
In addition to being entirely absent of hair, the wood frog also has to make do with moist skin on top of that. Yet the wood frog can be found as far north as Alaska, so it must be doing something right when faced with cold conditions. Amazingly the wood frog can survive being partially frozen many times over the winter due to the special chemicals in its blood. Even so I reckon a nice warm jumper would not go a miss.
Early (feather) baldness
Feathers are an essential insulator for the many bird species living in cold climates. Magellanic penguin chicks are left unattended for days while the adults go off to forage and so depend on their first layer of feathers to keep out the cold. Sadly the Wildlife Conservation Society recently reported large numbers of chick have succumbed to a feather-loss disorder, resulting in these bald babies gaining weight at a slower rate than their feathered fellows.
An exception – the plant with a pre-made jumper
It’s not just the name of the woolly willow that’s in line with the idea of a nice warm Christmas jumper, the coat of hairs on each leaf also add a furry touch to this shrubby willow.
George Bradford, ARKive Researcher