Is it Polar Vortex: Part II, or is Mother Nature just smiting you for breaking your New Year's resolution? Whether the frosty days ahead were brought about by climate change, or your failed attempt to go Paleo, we're not going to let you shiver in cold, bitter resentment. Instead, we're going to cope the best way we know how -- by taking some cues from some adorable animals. Get your warm-up on with these tips:
Huddle with friends.
This borderline-militant body heat exchange helps penguins keep warm in the bitter Antarctic winter (temperatures can dip to -76°F, think of that next time you complain.) As many as 6,000 emperor penguins can join in one huddle.
Penguins also walk together in waves for maximum warmth and insulation.
Up your snow shoe game.
The Canadian Lynx has the snowshoe situation on lock. Not your ordinary wildcat, this bobbed-tail critter has enormous, furry paws perfectly suited to the very snowiest of terrain. The kids still complain from time to time, though:
Stay under the covers all day (or winter).
Need to catch up on sleep? Make like the Hazel Dormouse and snooze right through those winter blues. After pigging out on nuts all autumn, the dormouse snuggles up in a nice warm nest when the temperature dips.
Sometimes they get hungry early, though, and wake up for a snack!
Hey, we all get mid-winter cravings, don't judge!
Grow out your hair out.
The Red Fox gets ready to pull those slick winter hunting moves by growing out his red-orange coat of fur until it's thick and plush. Then, he pounces:
Come summer, he'll shed the excess layering, while simultaneously growing out a lighter, summer coat underneath. The process gives foxes a "mangey" appearance, much like us human folk when we neglect a winter haircut or a winter shave. Hold onto the scraggly 'do for now -- you can look cute for your crush come Spring!
Go somewhere warm.
Don't we all wish we could pack our bags and head to Mexico or Southern California for winter, like the Monarch Butterfly? Every year, tens of millions of Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) head out on a roughly 3,000 mile aerial trip. We don't envy their perilous flight as they race against the clock, and the eminent winter chill. But once they make it, it's party time:
Just hangin' out.
Keep your eyes, ears... or your, er, tusk alert.
The Narwhal, an Arctic whale nicknamed the "Unicorn of the Sea," uses its nine-foot, sturdy yet flexible tusk as a sensory organ, according to researchers. Their tusks can calculate temperature, water pressure, motion and more. This protects them from potential predators. When it gets icy and slippery, follow the Narwhal's example, and keep your sensory perceptions in high alert mode.
If we were narwhals, we'd probably spend all day having fake light-saber fights.
BONUS: Flex those muscles.
Though decidedly un-cuddly to most, the Burmese Python uses a method to stay warm that a snow bunny can't teach. When temperatures dip, the mother Burmese Python gets to work, wrapping herself around her nest of eggs, and rapidly flexing her muscles to generate body heat -- something we definitely could use a little more of this time of year!
Winter can either make you cold and grumpy, or it can make you cuddly and fuzzy! When in doubt, make like a penguin:
And waddle on triumphantly!