Wood frogs

Wood Frogs
Image by Daina Krumins from Pixabay

Wood frogs live in the United States around Alaska and further north.  To a small degree they can be found down south in Alabama, but here they are fewer in number.    They tend to live in woodland areas.

It is the only frog that can be found north of the Arctic Circle.  

The wood frog has a distinctive black marking across its eyes making it fairly easily recognizable - it looks like it's wearing a mask.

The wood frog starts the breeding season a little bit earlier than a lot of the amphibians, starting around March time.  

Once the temperature warms up, the males hurriedly make their way to ponds and puddles and are followed shortly afterwards by the female wood frogs who hear their calling noise and they are all converge.  Many eggs are laid by the female, probably around 1,000 - 3,000 and they hatch around 9 - 30 days later into tadpoles.  The tadpoles are most herbivorous eating mainly decaying plants or algae.

Maturity is reached within about a year or possibly two.

The lifespan of a wood frog is approximately three years.

Wood frogs diet

The wood frog has a long sticky tongue and catches its prey on this.  They like to eat snails, worms, arachnids, insects and slugs mostly.

The tadpoles of the frogs are generally herbivorous.

They have a number of predators after them, including some snakes and snapping turtles.  Foxes, birds and raccoons also seem to have a taste for these adult wood frogs.

Wood frogs freeze

To hibernate they make their way to leaf litter for winter.

Every September the wood frog of Alaska will literally freeze.  Two-thirds of its body water turns to ice.  If you picked up the frog during this time, it would not move, it is just frozen solid.  Also, if you tried to bend its leg by pressing it, it is likely that the leg would break off.  Also during this time, their blood stops flowing and their hearts stop.  This is fascinating!  

They can tolerate these states of being for up to seven months, which is astounding really.  Then, when the weather warms up, the wood frog will do as well, all its bodily functions return to normal, and the frog carries on its merry way.

Research has shown that the frogs do not free once and stay that way until the Spring though, instead they might freeze overnight and then thaw the next day and do this a couple of times until eventually the weather turns so cold that they freeze and stay that way until the Spring comes and warms them up and starts of the thawing process.

It is because the frogs have high levels of glucose in their cells that they are able to survive this process every winter.  The main function of the glucose is to keep water in the cells.  When the Spring time comes, the glucose is converted back into glycogen and the rest of it is peed out of the frog.

Frogs are amazing.

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