How do frogs survive winter?
American toad spotted by JimJohnson2
Frogs have many strategies to survive the cold, winter months. Aquatic (water) frogs typically hibernate underwater. They spend their time during winter on top of the mud at the bottom of a water body or partially submerged in the mud. They need to be near oxygen-rich waters – if they dig themselves too deep into the mud they could suffocate. Terrestrial (land) frogs ride out the winter by hibernating between cracks in rocks, in logs or under leaf litter. Some land frogs are good diggers and will bury themselves below the frost line.
The American toad pictured is an example of a terrestrial frog that buries itself below the frost line when colder weather arrives – up to three feet deep! When the weather begins to warm in the spring, insects will become more active and the toads will start to emerge from hibernation.
The American toad lives across the eastern half of the United States, from the Oklahoma-Texas border and North Dakota on the western-most edge to Georgia and Maine on the eastern edge. Can you spot American toads, frogs and other wildlife in your neighborhood before they disappear for hibernation? Take photos and upload them to the Eyes on Central PA Mission on Project Noah!