Brown Antechinus

    (Antechinus stuartii)

    This marsupial mouse found throughout northern and eastern Australia belongs to the Dasyurid family, many of which enter daily torpor. Depending on their size, dasyurids can drop their body temperature to between 11-25 degrees and their metabolic rate to 10-60 per cent. 

    Photo Credit: Doug Beckers/Flickr

    Feathertail glider

    (Acrobates pygmaeus)

    Weighing only 15g and growing up to 80mm, the feathertail glider – found in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales – is the smallest glider in the world. Dropping its body temperature to just two degrees and its metabolic rate to six per cent, it is able to enter multi-day torpor for up to a week.

    Photo Credit: courtesy Taronga Zoo

    Mountain Pygmy Possum

    (Burramys parvus

    Living in the Australian Alps, this tiny alpine possum hibernates under snow for about six months of the year. It has extreme reductions in body temperature and metabolic rate, dropping to between one and six degrees and three per cent respectively.

    Photo Credit: illustration by Ego Guiotto

    Numbat

    (Myrmecobius fasciatus)

    This termite-dependent marsupial found in south-west Western Australia uses daily torpor in winter. Torpor bouts can last up to 15 hours, with the animals dropping their temperature to a minimum of 19.1 degrees.

    Photo Credit: dilettantiquity/Flickr

    Eastern quoll

    (Dasyurus viverrinus)

    This spotted carnivore about the size of a house cat belongs to the Dasyurid family, many of which enter daily torpor. Depending on their size, dasyurids can drop their body temperature to between 11-25 degrees and their metabolic rate to 10-60 per cent.

    Photo Credit: Rob Dockerill/Taronga Zoo

    Fat-tailed dunnart

    (Sminthopsis crassicaudata)

    Found in grasslands and deserts throughout mainland Australia, this small insectivorous marsupial belongs to the Dasyurid family, many of which enter daily torpor. Depending on their size, dasyurids can drop their body temperature to between 11-25 degrees and their metabolic rate to 10-60 per cent. 

    Photo Credit: Patrick Kavanagh/Flickr

    Short-beaked echidna

    (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

    These terrestrial monotremes have extreme drops in temperature and metabolic rate during hibernation, which can last up to seven months. Normally 31-32 degrees, they can cool to a chilly four degrees while inactive, and reduce their metabolic rate to 10-20 per cent.

    Photo Credit: Paul Fahy / Taronga Zoo

    Tawny frogmouth

    (Podargus strigoides)

    These insectivorous birds can enter shallow torpor bouts in winter, with small drops in body temperature. These often occur at night and can last up to seven hours.

    Photo Credit: May Wong/Flickr

    Yellow-footed antechinus

    (Antechinus flavipes)

    Also known as the Mardo, this small marsupial found in Queensland, South Australia and the south-west of WA belongs to the Dasyurid family, many of which enter daily torpor. Depending on their size, dasyurids can drop their body temperature to between 11-25 degrees and their metabolic rate to 10-60 per cent. 

    Photo Credit: Patrick Kavanagh/Flickr

    Blue-tongue lizard

    (Tiliqua scincoides)

    Lizards and snakes often enter a state of torpor during the colder months. As ectothermic or ‘cold-blooded’ animals, a reptiles’ internal heat is determined by external sources such as warm rocks so, unlike endotherms, they have no control over their temperature and metabolic rate. 

    Photo Credit: Doug Beckers / Flickr

    Bogong moth

    (Agrotis infusa)

    These native moths are known for their mass migrations throughout southern Australia and Tasmania during spring. During the summer months, the adult moths aestivate in rock crevices, before migrating north to breed.

    Photo Credit: Donald Hobern/Flickr

GALLERY: Australia’s sleepiest species

By AG STAFF | July 6, 2016

Whether it’s too cold, too hot, or limited food supply – these animals have the solution.