Thursday, January 2, 2014

What Do Animals Do in the Winter? The Answer is "Ribbit-"ing.

Post contributed by David from Conservation Corps Youth Outdoor Crew 2:

For this week's "What do animals do in the winter" blog post, we are moving away from mammals and into the world of amphibians. Have you ever wondered what a cold-blooded animal, who's body temperature depends on the temperature outside, might do when it is freezing and snowy here in Minnesota? They don't grow thicker fur, but do they still pack on the pounds or hibernate? The answer might surprise you.

Frogs offer an interesting variation on hibernation. As winter approaches, land dwelling frogs seek shelter in tree crevices or under sticks and leaves. Their metabolism drops and they enter a hibernation state. But unlike the bear they do not maintain a high body temperature; rather their temperature closely reflects the temperature outside. So what happens when it freezes? Well, frogs are able to produce a natural antifreeze in their blood which prevents their blood from freezing. This cool adaptation helps them avoid tissue damage that would otherwise kill them. How neat is that!?

Be sure to check back next week for our final blog post in this series!