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Jessi got so cold outside that she got goosebumps! Join her and Squeaks as they learn what causes your body to make these bumps in the first place.

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Squeaks and I were just out for a walk, and it sure is cold outside today!

I’m still pretty chilly — I think it’s going to take a few minutes for my body to warm back up. Good observation, Squeaks!

I have goosebumps all over my arms. Goosebumps are tiny bumps that can form all over your skin, mostly on your arms and legs. It’s a normal thing that happens sometimes when you’re cold, or when you’re having a strong feeling like if you’re scared.

If you look closely at your arms and legs, you might see tiny hairs growing. Each of these hairs is surrounded by tiny muscles, and when you get goosebumps, these muscles pull together, or contract. When this happens, the muscles and skin around the hairs pull closer to your body, so the hairs stand up higher and you get those little bumps at the same time! [Squeaks asks a question] Good guess!

But you don’t get goosebumps from geese. We call them goosebumps because they look a little bit like a goose’s skin underneath the feathers. It’s kind of a silly name.

Geese don’t even really get goosebumps — they might extend their feathers, but it’s not exactly the same. Some other kinds of animals do get goosebumps, though! Especially animals with fur.

One of the most common reasons people and other animals get goosebumps is the temperature, or how warm or cold it is — like what just happened to me. When it’s very cold out, your body tries to stay warm. Think about what you do to keep warm in the cold: you might fold your arms, or curl up on your couch.

When you do those things, you’re pulling your body as close together as possible to keep your heat close, and to kind of wrap yourself up so there’s something between you and the cold air outside. Goosebumps can help do both. The muscles around your hairs contract, pulling closer to your body to keep your heat close.

At the same time, it pushes your hairs out to try to make a thicker layer between you and the cold — almost like a layer of fur! But since we humans don’t have fur, it doesn’t help as much as it would for an animal that does have fur. So next time, I should probably just wear a warmer jacket.

There are other reasons that an animal might want to have a big, fluffy layer of fur, though. When animals are surprised or see something scary, like predators that might want to eat them, sometimes they’ll try to scare the predator off. If you’ve ever seen a cat suddenly puff up their fur when they’re surprised, that’s why!

They’re trying to look so big and scary that nothing will want to mess with them. I wouldn’t want to mess with a scared cat either. People can get goosebumps when we’re scared, too.

Our bodies are trying to made us look big and scary, just like that goose, even though we don’t have fur. Just imagine if I had a thick, furry coat all puffed up. I’d look really big, and I could probably scare off whatever was scaring me.

What do you think, Squeaks? Squeaks? Haha, you surprised me, Squeaks!

Now I have goosebumps all over again. Have you ever gotten goosebumps? What other ways could you use to keep yourself warm, or to make yourself look big and scary?

Ask a grown-up help you to leave a comment below, or send us an email at We’ll see you next time, here at the fort.