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Where Do Frogs Go In The Winter?


Green Tree Frog Mammals are endotherms, meaning they maintain a constant body temperature no matter what the environmental conditions are. For example, humans, dogs and cats are mammals. When the weather gets cold, we can still maintain our regular 98.6F body temperature. Some animals cannot do this; they are called ectotherms. The body temperature of ectotherms follows their environment, for example if it is cold outside, their body temperature falls. They must bask in the sun to get warm and cool off in the shade, or under the water. Amphibians, reptiles and insects are ectotherms.

During the spring, you may remember seeing many tadpoles in a pond or stream. Then in the summer the tadpoles grow arms and legs; they turn into a frog. Where exactly do the frogs go in the winter? I don't think anyone has seen a frog jumping around in the frigid winter months, especially in the northern United States. Frogs are ectotherms and because they have to keep themselves warm, the winter would be especially tragic for them. Spring peepers, wood frogs, green frogs and others bury themselves in the mud around a wetland, such as a pond or stream.

The interesting fact about frogs is that because they only bury themselves about an inch deep, some species of frogs actually freeze into a solid state. How do they stay alive, though? Well, they have special components in their body that actually act as antifreeze. Their body converts glycogen into glucose, which keeps the frog alive while it's frozen solid. When the ground becomes warm again in spring, the frogs thaw-out and remain active until winter comes around again!

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About the Author


Rebekah ShafferRebekah Shaffer
Rebekah Shaffer is currently a Junior at Slippery Rock University, PA. She is pursuing her B.S. in Biology, minor in Chemistry. She currently works as a microbiology lab assistant at Slippery Rock University and is a member of Beta Beta Beta Biology Honorary Society. She plans to obtain her Ph.D. in Molecular/Cellular Biology after completing her undergraduate degree.

Further Reading
Frogs, Toads, and Turtles (Take-Along Guide)
by Diane L. Burns, Linda Garrow (Illustrator)


Related Web Links
Frogs
by Exploratorium

Frogs For Kids
by MPCA





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