Frogs and toads seem like fragile animals, and in some ways they are. Yet, they’re also resilient. Frogs live on almost every part of the earth, including the Arctic Circle and the deserts of Africa. They have developed remarkable ways to survive severe weather.
- Aquatic frogs hibernate. Their heartbeat and breathing slows down, their temperature drops, and they go into a state of deep sleep. They do not burrow into the mud like water turtles. Instead, they may partially burrow into the mud or even float around.
- American toads dig into the soil to make a safe place to hibernate. This home is called a
- Some frogs, such as spring peepers, aren’t good diggers. They have to make due with crawling in the cracks in trees or burying under dead leaves.
- In hot climates, frogs and toads can do something like hibernation in reverse. It’s called “estivation.” During drought conditions, frogs and toads in Africa and South America burrow into the dirt. They shed their skins, creating a cocoon around themselves. Their breathing and heartbeat slows and they enter a state of deep sleep. Once the rains return, they wake up and dig out of the dirt.
- Hibernacula: a home made by an animal for hibernation
- Estivation: a survival strategy for drought conditions
- Aquatic: water-dwelling
Questions and Answers
Question: Does a frog or toad die if its habitat becomes too cold and it freezes?
Answer: Frogs and toads have glucose (sugar) in their hearts, lungs, and other vital organs. This glucose works like antifreeze to protect the animal. When they freeze, their hearts stop beating and they seem to be dead. When they warm up, though, the come back to life!
Watch a video showing how frogs freeze and revive.