Fish Hibernating

As the earth’s axis starts to lead it away from its heat source, which is the sun, the planet starts to get colder. It is when the winter season begins, the season that comes after autumn, just before the spring season takes the lead.

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During this season, a lot of animals take a long snooze and rest for a while. To mention some, animals like rattlesnakes and squirrels do hibernate or sleep during the entire winter season. It might be their way of surviving the cold breeze of winter.

Aside from the animals mentioned, have you ever wondered where do fish stay during the winter season? Is it possible for them to be like other animals that get to survive this season by hibernating?

How do they survive the cold water, which often results in the water to freeze?

Could they possibly die then? Of course, if you have not researched anything about it, you would not know some facts and information about which. Maybe fishes are also capable of hibernating for them to survive the season.

But then, it could be the other way around still.

What Is Hibernation?

Before anything else, you must first learn about hibernation. You might be thinking why bears are not mentioned as one of the examples of animals that undergo the process of hibernation. It is because the process that the bears do during winter is not hibernation but torpor.

Torpor is the process of being in a deep sleep, but unlike hibernation, torpor will make bears wake up when they got disturbed by a loud noise or other factors.

So, be careful if you see a bear taking a rest in the winter season, you might be thinking they are in the process of hibernation where they will not wake up. They will if you disturb them.

Hibernation is the process of decreasing the metabolic rate down to the lowest rate that the body can. This process includes the decrease of heart rate of up to 98%, drop in metabolic rate of up to 99%, having low body temperature, breathing slowly, and taking a nap the entire season.

Fish Are Not Capable Of Hibernating

In the case of a fish, their body temperature drops because their body temperature is parallel to the temperature of the water. Fish are known as cold-blooded organisms, which means they completely rely on their surroundings.

So, if the temperature cools down, the fish will cool down as well. It is also essential to know that fish are not asleep during the winter season. Knowing this, they are most probably not capable of hibernating.

Your fish are awake during winter, but you should not worry if you do have some fish in your pond that was frozen solid. Hibernating shuts down all the body’s functions except the heart and metabolism, so your fish, which stays awake and still can swim, is not into hibernation.

Although your fish cannot hibernate, they have a way of their survival to stay alive during the cold winter.

Now that you know that fish do not hibernate, you might wonder how they survive the season where ponds tend to freeze completely. It is the first and most asked question when it comes to the matter.

How do they even do that in the first place? The answer might be a lot broader than you think; fish have different ways of survival.

Place Where Fish Go To Survive During Winter

To survive during winter, fish migrates from one place to another. Fish like salmons and eels are on the top list when it comes to this matter. They go to the farthest place where areas do have spring and well.

It is because spring and well expel warmer water for them to keep alive. It is like this is their way of enjoying and, at the same time, their means of survival. It is because, without these things, they could die.

Aside from salmons and eels, most of the species of fish have their common way of survival. Their way of surviving the drop in the temperature is to go to the farthest and deepest part of the lake, sea, or ocean they belong in. 

Why is it that they go to this part? If you were them, it could be possible that you would not do the same thing.

It is a risk for them to do, especially if it could let them be in the danger zone. But still, the major question is, why? It is because the deepest part of the lake or other bodies of water is the warmest place that is possible for them to go to.

Also, do not be surprised if you find mud inside the tummy of the fish you got from fishing. During winter seasons, fish stay in the muddy part of the lake so their bodies can stay warm.

Unlike humans and other animals, fish don’t produce our heat. For this reason, you survive the winter without even the need for rolling over mud or staying in a much warmer place.


In conclusion, fish do not hibernate during winter. It is indeed a misconception of the term hibernation that leads people to think that fish hibernates when it is only sleeping or not moving.

Upon reading this article, it is already brought to your mind that hibernation is not a thing for fish. So always take note and bear that in mind starting today.

Hibernation shuts down the functions of the body except for the important ones like heartbeat and metabolism. Yet, a fish can still be awake and swim in the water during the winter, which means they do not hibernate.

Even though they do not possess the process of hibernation, their common way of surviving the winter is to migrate, if not capable of migrating to the farthest place.

They move to the deepest part of the body of water, which is commonly the muddiest part of the water, where they keep themselves warm to stay alive.