Skip to Content


Pronunciation: hi'ber-na'shun

Definition: A torpid condition in which certain animals pass the cold months. True hibernators, such as woodchucks, ground squirrels, dormice, and some others, have body temperatures reduced to near the freezing point, with a very slow heartbeat, low metabolism, and infrequent respirations. Partial hibernators, such as bears, skunks, and raccoons, have reduced physiologic activity during the cold months, but they are not comatose.

Synonym(s): winter sleep

[L. hibernus, relating to winter]

Disclaimer: This site is designed to offer information for general educational purposes only. The health information furnished on this site and the interactive responses are not intended to be professional advice and are not intended to replace personal consultation with a qualified physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. You must always seek the advice of a professional for questions related to a disease, disease symptoms, and appropriate therapeutic treatments.
© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.