The WyoBio Minute

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Episode 8: The Subnivean

Original Air Date: 03/05/18 06:00:pm

Image: Adelaide Tyrol

Wyoming winters can be harsh. Although many animals are hibernating or have left for warmer places, each year and entirely new world is born beneath the snow. Specifically in the subnivean, an area in and underneath the snow pack. Snow provide insulation and cover from predators. The space between the snow and ground stay close to 32°F even on days when the temperature drops well below zero. Shrews and voles and other small animals move within the subnivean throughout the winter as do spiders, their primary prey. They will also dig up inactive hibernating insects such as beetles and wasps. For the small winter active mammals, a constant food supply is critical to maintain their metabolic furnace during cold winter days. Underneath the seemingly lifeless blanket of snow lies a living world disappears each spring as if it were never there. With your WyoBio minute, I am Kennan Oyen.