There are 14 types of frogs and toads in Minnesota, and eight the them deserve to be found in 3 Rivers Park District. While all of them continue to be in Minnesota for the winter, castle have an extremely different approaches to making it through the cold. 

Many the us have actually learned the frogs invest the winter hidden in the dirt at the bottom the a lake. This is partly true for part species, yet not for most of the varieties we find in three Rivers. 

The frogs in 3 Rivers have actually three hibernation strategies: bury on land, frozen in the leaf litter, and spend the winter under water. 

Burrowing below the Frost

American toads room the only species in three Rivers that spend the winter underground. They burrow in sandy soil below the frost line, utilizing their earlier feet to do the digging. 

American toad. Photo courtesy of: Moriarty and Hall. 2014. Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

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How deep they walk varies native year to year relying on the temperatures and snow cover. They will burrow everywhere from 6 customs to over 3 feet deep. 

American toads can not freeze and also survive, therefore they should stay listed below the frost line all winter. They tend to remain within a pair of customs of the frost line and also will relocate up and down transparent the winter together the frost heat changes.

Frozen Frogs discovered in three Rivers

The many common an approach of winter survival amongst frogs in 3 Rivers is to frozen in the sheet litter. The gray treefrog, Cope’s gray treefrog, spring peeper, boreal chorus frog and also wood frog every take this approach. 

Gray treefrog. Photo courtesy of: Moriarty and Hall. 2014. Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota. College of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Their unusual overwintering strategy was very first documented right below in three Rivers Park district at Elm Creek Park make reservation by invoice Schmid indigenous the college of Minnesota in the 1960s. Prior to that discovery, scientists did not understand where these frogs go in the winter. 

Dr. Schmid to be helping a student collect land snail shells in the winter and also found what he assumed was a rock shaped prefer a treefrog. After a while, he establish it to be a frozen frog and started doing research study on how and why the happened.

His research found that part frogs accumulate glycerol your bodily fluids throughout the fall when the temperature begins to cool. This protects the cells from rupturing as soon as the frogs partly freeze. 

When a frog starts to freeze, the liver converts the glycerol into glucose. The glucose is then circulated come the frog’s major organs so the ice crystals carry out not type in its organ tissues. Back its organs space protected, ice does form in the frog’s human body cavity approximately its organs and between that is muscle cells. 

Up to 65 percent of a frog’s total body water will certainly freeze in the winter. Schmid (1982) uncovered that the frogs can be cooled down to 19°F because that weeks and survive.

Underwater Winter

The last group of frogs in 3 Rivers, which contains the northern leopard frog and also green frog, spends winter under water in lakes, ponds and also rivers. This frogs tend to sit on the bottom, occasionally in big groups. They will likewise move native time to time. 

Northern leopard frog. Photo courtesy of: Moriarty and also Hall. 2014. Amphibians and also Reptiles in Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

If over there is clear ice on a lake girlfriend may have the ability to see frogs swimming under the ice. They need water that has sufficient oxygen because that them come survive. These are usually the lakes and also rivers that have actually fish. These frogs can absorb the oxygen through their skin and mucous membranes.

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The tadpoles of eco-friendly frogs on regular basis over winter because that one year and transform come adult frogs their second year. The tadpoles are energetic all winter, but very slow.

Interested in amphibians and also their winter habits? Learn an ext in the adhering to books:

"Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota" by john Moriarty and Carol D. Hall"The Ecology and also Behavior the Amphibians" by Kentwood D. Wells

Archive image: "Rana pipiens" by Andy Kraemer is license is granted under CC BY-NC 2.0