Frogs and Toads in the Winter
It is Freezing outside! It was so cold this week that MN recorded colder temperatures than Antarctica! So what are wetland animals like frogs and toads doing to survive during our sometimes harsh winter months? Likely they are underground, underwater, or are temporarily frogcicles.
Green frogs, leopard frogs, mink frogs, and pickerel frogs often hibernate in the water; typically selecting larger/deeper ponds or flowing streams for their winter habitat. As long as the water remains unfrozen, so does the frog. Because very cold water holds more oxygen than warm water the frogs are able to absorb enough oxygen to survive through their skin. It is likely they nestle in among rocks, roots, and logs and near moving water to ride out the winter in a torpid state.
Toads like the American and Great Plains toads hibernate in upland areas. They will dig burrows below the frost line to avoid dangerous temperatures. This means the little guys dig about three feet down to their winter resting place! The too will enter a torpid state until spring.
Wood frogs, tree frogs, chorus frogs, and spring peepers hibernate under leaf littler and bark; choosing to embrace rather than flee the cold. When temperatures drop below -5C, 40% of the water in their body freezes, they no longer breath or pump blood but still take in oxygen through their skin. Come springs the frogs thaw and hop back to life.
(MN DNR, Ontario Parks Department)