How do animals affect and defend themselves from heat?

dog drinking heat

Above a certain temperature threshold, organisms find it increasingly difficult to function. Experts from WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) warn this, and they can also die. The high heat that affects us so much to people, also affects animals. Depending on what type and species it is, changes begin to be noticed. We can find from decreases in the production of livestock to population reductions of the most sensitive species.

It also affects the flora, an excess of heat, and accompanied by little rain, causes for example that the flowers dry out. Bees cannot produce as much nectar. At times like this, this production drops. During the first hours of the day, they can dedicate themselves to collecting nectar. After that, then they should leave it, to cool the hive with water and keep it between 32-35ºC.

How does it affect birds?

A heat wave in season where there are reproductions, causes that the species that are raising their young, it costs them more to find water. With fewer predictable drinkers, causes an increase in energy to seek more water and streamline it. That has a direct impact on the number of chickens that survive.

duck ducklings chicks

It is also being seen that the birds linked to the grasslands, with the increase in temperatures, are less green. The reproduction of birds is falling, and in parallel also of insectivorous birds. The latter are correlated with the number of flowers there are.

How are they protected?

On the one hand the birds they use their plumage like an air conditioner. It is a very common system in many species. For example, people use our hair as a refrigerator partially in summer, so that the temperature does not get too high. Equally and intuitively it protects us from the cold in winter.

Urban birds have a better chance of survival in urban areas. There are usually places with food and water regularly, like the one used in irrigation. That makes it easier for them to prosper. A good way to help mitigate the effects of heat on birds is to place drinkers or pots of water.

In general, animals react to heat in much the same way as people. They slow down their work rate, seek refuge in the shadows, and metabolic problems arise from high temperatures. There are some also, how dogs, who are more sensitive to heat than we think. Not having the ability to sweat to cool themselves, we can see how they lie on the ground in search of cool, while panting.

How does it affect reptiles?


In them we find that, from about 32ºC centigrade it affects them in sex when they reproduce. That is to say, more females are born. The balance that usually exists between both sexes changes.

They are ectothermic animals, they cannot generate their own heat. As in low temperatures, their metabolic reactions slow down and their activity level slows down, they are sensitive to high temperatures. In this case, biochemical reactions get out of balance and the activity of the proteins involved in them, the enzymes, is altered or can even be reduced.

How does it affect the fish?

optimum fish temperature

When the water temperature level rises, they tend to move to other areas. Seabirds, which we have not mentioned before, are for example the harmed here. To search for food, they usually have to travel longer distances. And it also affects their physical wear and tear on their young.

In the case of fish, they are animals that usually live in very stable temperatures. In the air environment the temperature varies a lot, but in the aquatic environment the variations are more stable. Thus, each species has "its region." We have some fish that can live in icy waters of the pole, and others in very hot waters. But the variation of temperatures in its waters will directly affect its population. If they can find refuge in another area, they will, on the contrary, any rise or fall in temperatures causes their population to decrease from its optimum temperature level.

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