Spring provides everything newborn wildlife needs

MISSOULA – Spring’s warmer temperatures and longer days are nice for people, but for wildlife, this change can be essential.

Spring in the Northern Hemisphere begins when the sun comes directly over the equator as the Earth moves through its orbit.

With spring comes the change of weather.

One of the ways wildlife cope with climate and environmental changes is by adapting to the birth of their babies.

Timing is everything. This maximizes reproductive success as it increases the chances of their babies surviving and improves future reproduction for both mother and babies.

Spring provides everything newborn wildlife will need.

Warmer weather, good ground cover to hide from predators, and better food availability.

It also means longer days, which leaves more time for feeding.

Many seasonal carnivores have gestation periods that are short relative to their body size so that the embryo develops quite quickly between the mating period in the fall and the date of birth in the spring.

While others have extended gestation periods so that they give birth at the right time of the year.

A careful adaptation to prolong the time between mating and birth is called embryonic diapause which is the suspended state of pregnancy where the embryo does not attach to the uterine wall for several months.

Diapause – or delayed implantation – allows the mother to wait out adverse conditions such as lack of food, not enough fat reserves or having juveniles that have not yet been weaned.

Bears, for example, breed in late spring or early summer. The mother then hunts for food until she has enough body fat to start her pregnancy.

The embryos will then implant as she enters her den for the winter. Thus, the cubs were born at the end of winter and emerged with mom in the spring.

Starvation or other stresses somehow cause the pregnancy process to be suspended. This response is an effort to protect their survival.

Learn more here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180507111834.htm