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Wildlife Copes with Winter

TitleWildlife Copes with Winter
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2004-01-27
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report #52 - "Wildlife in the Winter" (Air Date: January 27, 2004). Shawn Espinosa from the Nevada Division of Wildlife discusses wildlife adaption during the winter.
SubjectCold adaptation
Winter --Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2005-03-14
RelationRequires Windows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment 52: "Wildlife in Winter" Anchor Intro: When the temperatures dip below freezing and the snow is piling up in the mountains, it's nice to be able to go home to a warm home that protects you from the elements. But what do the animals do in the wintertime? Shelly Purdy takes a look in tonight's Lake Tahoe Report. ((Take Pkg)) ((Track 1)) The sun may be shining now and the snow glistening…painting a pretty picture during the daytime. But, when night falls the temperatures drop and it's miserably cold out here. Wintertime is particularly stressful on wildlife. Not only due to the cold but also the lack of available food. That's why each species has adapted strategies to survive the season. ((s/u @ 17:23 Shelly Purdy)) "When it gets cold outside we tend to put on some extra layers of clothing, zip our coats a little higher. But there's actually a species of weasel here in the Tahoe Basin that when it gets cold in the winter its coat changes color and helps it stay warm." ((sot @10:57 Shawn Espinosa, Nevada Division of Wildlife)) "Short tailed and long tailed weasels which we have in the basin …their coats will turn white in the wintertime except for the tip of their tail which wil be black." ((sot @ 11:34)) "Those white hairs lack pigment. Melanin is a pigment and it takes up space in the hairs. That space is now taken up by simply air. So, that coat has more insulation capability." ((Track 2)) With that extra insulation, the weasels are able to tough it out over the winter. Other animals like deer, migrate to lower elevations when snow covers the mountains. Birds like osprey and bald eagles are lucky…Lake Tahoe doesn't freeze over in the winter…so they can keep on fishing throughout the year. There are also animals you've probably never seen before…like the flying squirrel that lives in the treetops and hunts for food at night. It's a tough existence and many don't make it through the winter. With the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, I'm Shelly Purdy for KOLO News Channel 8. Anchor Tag: Other animals like bears and marmots hunker-down in burrows or dens to sleep-off the wintertime cold. But that sleep can sometimes be disturbed by people snowmobiling, cross country skiing or snowshoeing out in the backcountry. So if you plan to venture out into the forest this winter, be aware of the wildlife around you.

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