“Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places. Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.”
Researchers have discovered a species of mammal that can actually survive being frozen for several weeks.
Scientists were amazed to find that the little Arctic ground squirrel can allow its body to drop to 27 degrees F – that’s five degrees below the freezing point of water – for up to two weeks at a time during its unusual eight-to ten-month hibernation period. After the two weeks at this very low temperature, the squirrel rouses itself, returns to normal body temperature, takes care of a few bathroom duties, and then returns to a state of nearly frozen hibernation for another two weeks. The squirrel usually comes out of hibernation for its short summer in June. It has only two or three months before the ground freezes again and it returns to hibernation, so the squirrel is very busy eating and mating for two short months. You could say that the Arctic ground squirrel sleeps most of its life away.
Scientists say that the Arctic ground squirrel is the only mammal that is able to allow its body temperature to fall below freezing. If they can find out how the squirrel does it, they believe the same method might be used to preserve transplant organs for longer than a few hours. So once again, scientists expect to learn new medical methods by studying how the Creator does the same thing.
Dear Father, Your understanding and wisdom in designing the creation are so great that even those who do not want to recognize You still expect to learn from You. As they do so, make it ever more difficult for them to deny You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“Squirrel makes its body subfreezing to hibernate,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, Saturday/July1/1989/8A. Photo: Arctic ground squirrel eating a mushroom. Courtesy of Ianaré Sévi. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.