Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Frogs in Winter

I have to admit, on these cold January days, I anxiously await warmer, longer days. But, in the meantime, I stoke my wood stove, cuddle under a quilt and enjoy a nap. Humans have the ability to get out of cold. Amphibians, not so much.
Many of you have probably seen that picture going around of a 'Alaskan Tree Frog' totally frozen, covered in ice crystals, hanging over the edge of something. Hate to break it to you, but there isn't such a critter. That picture is probably just one of those little flower pot ornaments. It's cute, but not real. There are Wood Frogs that do live in very cold climates, that do totally freeze, appear dead, but then, thaw in the Spring. It's nothing short of amazing!
So how do frogs and toads survive? Well, with frogs, they will hunker down in the mud and leaf litter at the bottom of ponds. Their body temperature will drop, and go into a state of hibernation. They might slowly swim along the bottom, but will barely eat, if at all. With Bullfrogs, it can take a couple of years to go from egg to adult. The tadpoles will also just slowly swim close to the bottom.
Toads, which tend to be terrestrial, will dig down below the frost line (1'-2') where they will hibernate.
One of my favorite sounds of Spring is when the Spring Peepers, and the Chorus Frogs begin to call.
Here is a very cool video explaining more about how a Wood Frog freezes, and thaws.
Remember to 'like' and 'share' the love of nature!

This is the image I am referring to that is of a garden ornament.

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