Frog Hibernation – A Complete Guide


As autumn goes and days get shorter than before, we often ask one another, “where do frogs go? Why do they disappear in winters”?  It is the question which we find very interesting when someone does not know the science of hibernation. We find it interesting that either frog dies during the cold and shorter winter days or hides somewhere. But when we get to know hibernation’s meaning, we learn during winters, and frogs hibernate themselves.

Hibernation is a typical response of amphibians living in colder climatic conditions. Animals make their hibernacula to get protection from winters and predators during this period. As their metabolism is dramatically slow, so they turned on for a “sleep away” mode. They used the stored energy of their bodies to keep alive. As soon as they feel about changing the weather, they leave their hibernacula to get out into the actual world.

Yes, they do, although aquatic ones prefer to stay underwater while terrestrial ones found spaces on mud. But they all hibernate to survive during extreme weather conditions. 

Like all amphibians, common frogs are “ectothermic,” which means they cannot generate heat for their own body to keep themselves warm enough to survive during winters; instead, they are dependent on their surroundings. Due to the reduction of temperature, they become less active; therefore, they have to move somewhere else relatively warmer.

Usually, common species of frogs hibernate on land. Because of their permeable skin, it is not recommended that they live for so long in a place with no moisture. Therefore, they live in a mammal burrow or inside a compost heap throughout the winters. During hibernation, frogs’ metabolism decreases dramatically to sleep throughout the winters by using their stored body’s energy. As the spring season ends, the entire sleeping animals wake up and leaves their hibernaculum.

Do Toads Hibernate?

The answer to this question is YES. Like all other amphibians’ toads also hibernate to survive during the cold season of winters. First, we should learn the difference between a frog and a toad. Toad is a frog type, but they are smaller and more fragile than that of a frog.

These are called solitary hibernators as they like to hibernate alone instead of with a whole group. But sometimes, they do hibernate in groups when suitable hibernating habitats are scarce.

Toads are good diggers, so that they like to hibernate underground, in the mud, at the bottom of lakes, concealed in logs, or even tucked away under leaf litter. Toads eat a lot of food before they go into hibernation mode. They survive for days, weeks, or even months by utilizing the energy from fats stored in their body.

 Toads are good diggers, and they even dig for approximately 20 inches to hibernate. Toads have particular kinds of feet by which they can search easily and quickly deep into the soil. However, toads do not always have to dig to hibernate, but sometimes they hide in a mammal burrow or ant mounds like common frogs. Toads only come back when the temperature rises and spring arrives. 

How Do Green Frogs Hibernate?

Like all other amphibians’ green frogs are also ectothermic, which means they cannot generate heat to keep their body warm enough to survive, therefore, as the warmth of summers vanishes away. The coldness of winters comes, green frog disappears. As they do not have insulation and their body temperature decreases and increases with the weather changes, how do frogs overwinter?

To avoid the severity of coldness, frogs hibernate themselves in different places. The frogs who are good at digging go deep into the soil, while those who are not good at digging will seek shelter in the depths of leaf litter or the nooks and crannies of downed logs peeling tree bark. Aquatic frogs spend their winters on the bottom of lakes, ponds, or any other water body. Still, when the temperature decreases to freeze the water bodies, these creatures’ body temperature goes below freezing.

Do Tree Frogs Hibernate?

The hibernation of tree frogs is not entirely different from other types of frogs. To survive cold weather, they also have to hide themselves to stay. The tree frogs hibernate in leaf litter or under bark, somewhere that is not too cold. When the temperature falls to as low as –5-degree centigrade, tiny ice crystals form in the body, freezing almost 40 percent of its water content. Grey tree frogs hibernate themselves under dead tree leaves or tree bark and due to which they are exposed to freezing temperatures. They usually freeze, and their heart and other body functions stop. Following this, the frog no longer breathes; there is no blood circulation and no heartbeat; consequently, it feels dead. Surprisingly, as the temperature rises with the temperature change, the frog sometimes thaws as little as a day and may hop away.

Do British Frogs Hibernate?

Britain frogs are also called common frogs due to their olive green color and yellowish skin. They are widespread in Mailand of Britain, commonly hibernate in ponds, mud, or under piles of rotten bushes. Thye can easily breathe through their skins when their lungs are not working.

British frogs are mostly near ponds, marshes, and other shallow water bodies; that s why their hibernation site also lies underwater. They can stay under mud as safe as in the water. If it doesn’t found a suitable place underwater, it can go underneath the ground.

At What Temperature Do Frogs Hibernate?

As the cold month’s approach, the frog finds shelter to survive from extremes of weather. Frogs demonstrate a particular behavior to stay in colder days.

How Long Does A Frog Hibernate?

In most of the extremities, the frogs likely to spend all the time in hibernation, which can go up to 8 months mostly. This time starts in late October and ends around January, still it depends on the falling of temperature in the entire area. 

Many parts of the world have long winters, so it is expected that frogs have to stay in hibernation for around 10 months of the year.

Frog Hibernate During Which Season?

Winter! During the cold of 4-5 degrees and even -5-10, it starts its hibernation journey from the upcoming 8-10 months till spring starts showing its signs.

Some species of tree frogs in North America have an exciting characteristic, though. When they are in hibernation, their bodies produce a substance, which prevents their blood from freezing. It is some natural antifreeze that gets the blood some slushy without freezing, but respiration slows down.

So next time when you see a frog in the spring, remember that it had to go through some extreme challenges in the past winters!

What Month Do Frogs Come Out?

Frog spends winter on the bottom of an ice-covered lake, but when it turns cold, they can from frogsicles. As winter arrives, frogs’ antifreeze natural mechanism triggers. Its heart stops beating, breathing stops, and the brain also stops working.

The natural antifreeze system protects the individual cells from burning out. When spring comes, the frog bounces back into active life again out of the mud to breathe in the fresh air. 

How Do I Know Is My Frog Dead Or Hibernating?

Over the winter, frogs turn very dark the likely look dead with no movement upon touching. A temperature gets a bit warmer; they show activity and respond to give the sign of life. They can move a bit in their surroundings. 

Yes, a hibernating frog looks dead, apparently, but that is probably due to a darker skin tone that matches with rotten leaves. 

Can Frogs Freeze And Still Live?

While ice crystals may form in some body parts of frogs, some features have elevated glucose levels which act as a natural antifreeze that protects vital tissues from freezing. Tadpoles breathe through gills, but frogs cannot as they lose their gills, and they breathe through lungs and aquatic green frogs. Who spend the entire winter in the bottom of water bodies does not need much oxygen to live to fulfill their requirement of oxygen through their surrounding water through their skin.

Do Frogs Breathe When They Are Hibernating? 

Nobody knows about this exactly! There is not much research found about frog sleeping behavior. It is for sure that they close their eyes, but brain scans are not confirmed about deep sleeping patterns. 

During hibernation, the amphibians breathe; although they have a slow rhythm, they breathe through their skin. Frog mainly hibernates underwater to get an ample amount of oxygen. Still, few frogs can stop their heart from beating; amazingly, they will stop breathing but still alive. A higher level of glucose helps them to act life antifreeze to protect their internal organs. When the weather turns towards getting warmer, they wake up, and their heart resumes breathing normally.

Do Bullfrogs Hibernate?

Aquatic frogs like American Bullfrog typically hibernate underwater, simply all frogs don’t hibernate by burying into the mud; relatively few go for water hibernation. Frogs do not have the natural ability to adjust the metabolism system for survival on the limited oxygen supplies. 

Frogs hibernating spots are not safe to provide them safety for the whole winter, but typically they survive from extreme colds. During hibernation, their bodies produce a high level of glucose that can remarkably increase their blood-sugar levels that can create a safety gear to act as “antifreeze” by limiting the crystal formations. 

Wood frogs completely freeze during winters with zero brain activity. It is pretty surprising to watch a frog “thaw out” as the temperature gets warmer. 

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