Select Page
March Slice of Life No. 6.

I learned a new word.

The text
A limerick by Diane Mayr

There once was a ‘gator named Nathan
who eschewed the state of brumation.
He skied and he skated–
and was truly elated–
to became an Olympic sensation.

The word

Chunked it
bru – ma – tion.

Used context clues
State of brumation?   Hmmmmm …. a condition.
A ‘gator avoided this state or condition to ski and skate?  Those are winter sports. Cold sports.
Hmmmmm… Could it be like hibernation?

Looked it up
I checked my e-dictionary. The dictionary suggested “Brampton.”

I googled b r u m a t i o n.  I found brumation listed in “Rare and Wonderful Winter Words.” That made me feel better about not knowing the word brumation.

  • I felt affirmed when I learned that my inference about a brumationhibernation connection was right.
  • I learned that brumation is a word created by American zoologist Wilbur W. Mayhewin in 1965.
  • I learned that brumation is a sluggish or inactive state exhibited by reptiles and amphibians during the winter or extended periods of low temperature.

Made connections
Ah, now I get it. You know. All that news about “kamikaze” lizards plunging out of trees in Florida last January. 
Well, it makes sense now that I know about brumation. It was because the temperature had fallen around freezing and the iguanas were switching into brumation. In brumation, they lose their grip on branches and fall. And they will lie, dead-like, where they fall until temperatures rise again, bringing them out of brumation.

Now you, too, know a new word —a rare and wonderful winter wordbrumation!

 *  *  *  *

Added from a Comment below.
Check out the photo of this alligator in the state of brumation enclosed in ice!  And there’s some poetry to go along!  Oh! I can feel the elements of integrated instruction (science / literature) coming together. Thank you, Molly Hogan for sharing with me!

Head over to
for more slice of life stories.