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How Do Frogs Survive Winter Weather?

Snow covering trees and wood pile

Winter can be harsh on animals. Extreme cold temperature and snow covering everything. Life just sucks. Different animals adapt differently to the season. Birds fly south for winter, bears hibernate for winter, deer grow thicker fur, and old people go down to Florida, but what do frogs and toads do?

They hibernate but not all frogs and toads hibernate the same way. Aquatic frogs swim down to the bottom of a body of water and lay there for the winter. The bottom is slightly warmer than the top and often doesn’t freeze solid. The frogs must not dig into the dirt on the bottom too far or else they can’t breath. Because they are adept at digging, Toads can burrow down into the ground deep enough to avoid being frozen solid.

For tree frogs and terrestrial frogs, they don’t have the leg power to dig deep to avoid being frozen, what do they do? Well, they try to dig down into the leaf liter or hide in a log. This isn’t sufficient protection for the frogs so these frogs store high levels of glucose in their cells to prevent ice from forming in the cells and potentially puncturing it. This allows them to almost completely freeze but still be alive. The Wood Frog is an example of a frog that does that. The Wood Frog lives the farthest north of any North American frog species.

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Wood Frog
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