About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Frozen Frogs: How tree frogs survive winter

Gray Tree Frog, Hyla versicolor
Before the first frost, a tree frog’s survival process is set in motion. Special proteins in the blood cause the water in the blood to freeze first. This ice sucks most of the water out of the frog's cells so that the water freezes outside the cells, causing much less damage. (Humans lack these proteins, so when our skin freezes, we get frostbite, which sucks all the water out of our cells and causes them to collapse.)

Essentially, water pulls away from the center of the body so the internal organs are wrapped in a puddle of water that then turns into solid ice. The frog's heart stops beating, its brain shuts down, muscles stop moving, and the frog stops breathing. When frozen, tree frogs turn blue. For several months the frog is in this state of suspended animation.

When temperatures warm and the ice melts, the frogs thaw. Water slowly flows back into the cells, blood starts flowing again, and the frog revives.

Related Article:
- The difference between Frog and Toad http://goo.gl/pMwRKp
- Tree frog in Bird House http://goo.gl/uDwss4
- Why Don't Birds Freeze After They Take a Bath in the Winter? http://goo.gl/5ydpvy
- How can birds survive this cold weather? http://goo.gl/4v2d4

Source: http://http-server.carleton.ca/~kbstorey/ftverts.htm

No comments: