How to Stay Warm by Dressing Like an Animal this Winter


Shorter days and less sunlight mean colder temperatures when we go outside.

But that shouldn’t keep us from enjoying the four-season wonder of enjoying outdoor spaces. We can learn a lot about staying warm from the animals around us.

Waterproof Like a Beaver

Beavers stay active all winter and regularly swim in water that has ice on the surface. They can do this due to the oil that coats their fur and makes it waterproof. The oil is excreted from their caster glands by the base of the tail. They use a split toenail to groom and spread the oil all over their fur.

Dress like a beaver in the winter by wearing waterproof outer layers on any part of your body that might get wet. This is especially important for boots when hiking in the snow.

Layer Like a Bird

Birds often look larger in the winter because they fluff their feathers and trap air between them. The air is warmed by their body heat and helps create an insulating layer between them and the cold air.

To mimic this effect, use multiple layers of clothes that can trap air between them. A base layer that is wicking and close to your skin with one or two looser layers overtop will help keep you warmer. For example, a form fitting wicking thermal shirt, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a fleece and a winter coat can make good layers for the top half.

Block Wind Like a Bison

Bison can survive without shelter in temperatures down to -40F and 50 mph winds. The thickest fur is on their necks and face, so when it is extremely cold they face into the wind and block the coldest air from reaching the rest of their bodies.

When it’s cold outside use an outer layer that blocks the wind. Many waterproof fabrics also block wind so this can double as your waterproof layer.

Cover Your Extremities like a Fox

Foxes curl up and wrap their tail around them to conserve heat and cover their feet and nose.

Make sure to have a warm hat, gloves, boots and a scarf on in the winter. A lot of heat can escape through our extremities so covering them up helps us keep warm and prevents frost bite.

Warm Your Core Like a Duck

Ducks are covered in warm down feathers and waterproof outer feathers so their bodies can stay warm all winter even when swimming. However, their feet are not covered by warm feathers. To keep from losing heat out of their feet their blood vessels in their legs are lined up so that the cold blood coming back into their bodies is warmed by the warm blood leaving their bodies. This way their overall body temperature does not decrease.

Keep your core warm by adding a warm vest to your layers. The vest will help keep your core warm while leaving your arms free and less bulky for outdoor activities.

Get outside to find your winter wild with Great Parks this winter and enjoy the healthy benefits that come with being in the outdoors.