What does subnivean mean?

Asked by: Prof. Milton Aufderhar IV
Score: 4.4/5 (5 votes)

The subnivean climate is the environment between fallen snow and terrain. This is the environment of many hibernal animals, as it provides insulation and protection from predators.

Where is the subnivean zone?

The subnivean zone is the area between the surface of the ground and the bottom of the snowpack. The word subnivean comes from the Latin “sub” (under) and “nives” (snow).

How deep is the subnivean zone?

The subnivean zone maintains a temperature of close to 32 °F (0 °C) regardless of the temperature above the snow cover, once the snow cover has reached a depth of 6 inches or more.

What animals live in the subnivean zone?

Subnivean fauna includes small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, and lemmings that must rely on winter snow cover for survival. These mammals move under the snow for protection from heat loss and some predators.

33 related questions found

What animals hide under snow?

Animals like voles and deer mice survive under the snow at the mercy of conditions. Their success in any given year drives ecosystem health. Populations of animals from snowy owls to grizzly bears are, in part, regulated by the number of rodents that survive beneath the snow.

Do mice tunnel under snow?

Voles, mice, and shrews dig tunnels under the snow, which allow them to travel safely between burrows and food sources without being seen by predators. ... The subnivean tunnels only become visible once the snow melts and the tunnels collapse.

Where do snow voles live?

The European snow vole is native to mountainous parts of southern and eastern Europe and southwestern Asia.

What is the Subnivean space and how do some animals use it?

The subnivean zone is an opening beneath the snow where small mammals live during winter, with connecting tunnels made by them to travel through, hunt prey, and gather plant material.

How do I get rid of voles?

Voles can be removed humanely from a yard by using live traps, or they can be exterminated with mouse traps or bait traps (which use poisons). They can also be deterred by fencing and driven away with vole repellents.

Is snow a good insulator?

Snow and insulation

Snow is such a good insulator that some animals dig snow caves in which to hibernate through the winter. New snow is composed of a high percentage of air trapped among the accumulated snow crystals. Since the air can barely move, heat transfer is greatly reduced.

Why is the Subnivean environment important to wildlife?

The subnivean zone describes a layer in which small animals live under (“sub”) the snow (“nives”; Latin origin). ... Small mammals also find cover from predators under the snow. This is important because they typically lack winter camouflage and may be seen from long distances when travelling across the stark white snow.

What is the temperature under the snow?

Snow forms when the atmospheric temperature is at or below freezing (0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit) and there is a minimum amount of moisture in the air. If the ground temperature is at or below freezing, the snow will reach the ground.

What is destructive metamorphism?

Destructive Metamorphism: The change in snow crystals from delicate six-sided shapes to rounded, bonded ice grains due to disturbance, molecular motion, and pressure. ... The process of constructive metamorphism depends on a large temperature gradient to move the vapor upward.

How many voles live in a hole?

How many voles are in a colony and what makes up a colony? There may be two adults, several juveniles, and a nest with up to 5 babies in a family colony. Adults are thought to defend their home habitat or territory from invasion by other voles.

Where do voles stay?

Where do field voles live? Field voles are primarily found in open areas with plenty of long grass. The rodents make burrows under the shelter of grass and move around through a network of tunnels and runways. They can occur in woodland where there is plenty of grass cover and are most common in young woods.

Do voles live in snow?

Voles do not hibernate during the winter months. They are active even during the winter and when snow is on the ground. They seem perfectly happy and actually do very well under the protection of the snow cover chewing away on the turfgrass plants.

Is it a mouse or a vole?

What is the difference between voles vs mice? Here's one way to tell: voles have short tails, but mice have longer tails (about their body length). Voles also look heavier than mice. Additionally, voles tend to be active in open land whereas mice are thigmophilic, which means they like making contact with surfaces.

Do moles live in snow?

Moles can remain active all winter long. They don't hibernate. ... As the soil freezes, moles stop making surface tunnels and dig deeper into the ground. In the middle of winter, they will be below the frost line eating bugs aplenty.

Do coffee grounds repel voles?

By simply scattering your old coffee grounds over their holes and covering it with soil, the smell of the coffee will annoy your yard-destroying varmints. And unlike some natural methods—like stuffing old fish in their entrances—coffee grounds actually have a pleasant smell.

What lives in snow?

Animals such as caribou, Arctic hares, Arctic ground squirrels, snowy owls, puffins, tundra swan, snow geese, Steller's eiders and willow ptarmigan all survive the harsh Arctic winters quite easily and some, like the willow ptarmigan, are only found in the Arctic region.

What living thing has the biggest brain?

The sperm whale has the biggest brain of any animal species, weighing up to 20 pounds (7 to 9 kilograms). Larger brains don't necessarily make a smarter mammal. But as mammals evolved, many groups, from Primates to Carnivora, have shown independent increases in brain size.

What animals fur turns white in winter?

7 Animals That Turn White in Winter
  • Hares. snowshoe hare. Snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus). ...
  • Weasels. stoat. Stoat, or short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea). ...
  • Peary Caribou. Peary caribou. ...
  • Collared Lemmings. Arctic lemming. ...
  • Ptarmigans. willow ptarmigan. ...
  • Siberian Hamsters. Dzhungarian (or Siberian) hamster. ...
  • Arctic Foxes. Arctic fox.

Where is snow most likely to fall?

Major snow-prone areas include the polar regions, the northernmost half of the Northern Hemisphere and mountainous regions worldwide with sufficient moisture and cold temperatures. In the Southern Hemisphere, snow is confined primarily to mountainous areas, apart from Antarctica.

Can it snow at 60 degrees?

Snowflakes can survive about a 1,000-foot fall in an above-freezing environment before melting. Snow has actually reached the ground on days with temperatures in the 50s, but it would take extraordinary circumstances for it to snow with temps in the 60s.