Posted by: ktzefr | July 18, 2012

Beating the Heat

I’ve had to abandoned my outdoor office/jungle to the near-100 degree temps.  I miss listening to the birds and feeling the breeze.   Today I’m listening to the air conditioner click on and off and feeling the ceiling fan.  

 

The bunnies are having a hard time staying cool.  They’ve dug up the grass under the bushes and and made themselves “beds” of dirt.  They are out and about munching on the grass and clover and wild plantains early in the morning or late afternoon when it’s cooler.  This morning I noticed an early forager with unusually red ears.  Apparently, those long ears serve a purpose besides being better able to hear you with.  The blood vessels dilate and allow excess heat to dissipate from the bunny’s body.  It’s one way to stay cool.

Bunny taking a break in the heat; Photo:KFawcett

 

Squirrels use their tails for thermoregulation.  In winter they use the tail for a blanket.  In summer the air cools the thin tail first and the squirrel pumps that cool blood back into his body.  He sometimes holds his tail over his head, using it as an umbrella.  The lighter-colored underside of the tail also absorbs less heat.   Our squirrels?  They just hang around…

 

Squirrel escaping the heat; Photo:KFawcett

 

Butterflies are cold-bloodied; they don’t produce metabolic heat like we humans do.  They depend on the sun for warmth.  Although they prefer temps in the low 80s (they like the tropics and so do I), they seem to be faring okay in this heat wave.  My butterfly bush is seeing plenty of action.

Swallowtail butterfly; Photo:KFawcett

How are YOU beating the heat?

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