6 Crucial Difference between Hibernation and Aestivation

What is the difference between hibernation and aestivation?

Animals tend to experience different sleeping patterns according to the prevailing climate and growth stage. Some of the common sleeping patterns are hibernation, aestivation, torpor, and brumation.

The lesson provides a detailed insight into the difference between hibernation and aestivation in a tabular form for easier understanding.

Difference between Hibernation and Aestivation

What Is Hibernation?

Hibernation is a situation where certain animals go dormant completely during winter by lowering their metabolic activity. The phenomenon is also known as winter sleep.

These animals eat a lot of food and store them in the form of fat. This helps to combat the shortage of food during winter.

Examples of animals that experience hibernation include Bears, Bats, Hamsters, Ground Squirrels, Skunks, Deer Mice, Wood Frogs, etc.

Read More: Do Raccoons Hibernate? 

What Is Aestivation?

Aestivation is also known as estivation. It refers to a phenomenon where animals living in the desert go for summer sleep.

These animals tend to search for shade, cool, and moist places to sleep. The situation is also termed as summer sleep.

Examples of animals that experience estivation are snails, earthworms, frogs, lizards, snakes, mud turtles, hedgehogs, and crocodiles.

Comparison Chart: Hibernation vs Aestivation

Basic Terms Hibernation Aestivation
Meaning It is a situation where animals go into a dormant state during winter by lowering their metabolic activity It is a situation where animals dormant condition due to high temperature during summer
Alternative names Winter sleep Summer sleep
Duration Winter duration Summer duration
Species Both warm and cold-blooded Only in cold-blooded animals
Place Animals tend to find warmer places to sleep Animals search for cool, moist and shady areas for sleeping
Examples of animals Bats, birds, mammals, insects, etc. Bees, snails, earthworms, salamanders, frogs, earthworms, crocodiles, tortoise, etc.

Core Difference Between Hibernation and Aestivation 

  1. Hibernation is the sleep of the winter whereas estivation is the sleep of the summer
  2. Aestivation happen in cold-blooded species while hibernation in both warm and cold-blooded species
  3. The duration of hibernation is longer while that of estivation is shorter
  4. During hibernation, animals seek warm places while during aestivation animals seek for shady, moist and cool places
  5. Hibernation help to prevent the internal body from damage due to low temperatures while aestivation prevent excessive water loss and internal body damage due to high temperatures
  6. Examples of animal species that undergo hibernation are birds, insects, bat, and mammals while those that undergo aestivation are earthworms, salamanders, honeybees and snails.

Core Similarities between Hibernation and Aestivation

  1. Both represent the dormant state
  2. Both represent the state of sleep
  3. Both depend on the organism, time of the year and tolerance level of the organism

Read More: Difference between Evergreen and Deciduous Forests

Comparison Video


The core difference between hibernation and aestivation is that hibernation occurs in winter where animal go into winter sleep whereas aestivation occurs in summer where animals go for summer sleep.

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