Earthgauge Kids Corner

Freezin’ Frogs

frozen wood frog
Ever heard of a frozen frog? The North American wood frog, which lives in Canada and the northern United States, actually freezes itself to survive winter. It thaws out again in spring when temperatures warm.

Not all frogs are as dramatic. Many frogs survive the winter by burrowing into mud and debris at the bottom of ponds. Wintering frogs can look like they are dead underwater – appearing mushy and the color of rotting leaves – but they actually breathe through their skin, very slowly.

Terrestrial frogs (frogs that live on land) ride out the winter by hibernating between cracks in rocks, in logs, or under leaf litter.

Image: Frozen wood frog, courtesy National Park Service.

did you know

Learn fun facts about wildlife in winter!

  • The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration the way birds do. Using a combination of directional aids such as the magnetic pull of the earth and the position of the sun, these butterflies can travel as far as 3,000 miles to reach their winter home.
  • Small mammals such as mice, shrews, and voles take cover beneath snow pack, where heat from the earth is trapped by the overlying snow. In this space, the subnivean zone, the temperature may be close to freezing even if it is much colder up above.

field mouse

  • Some insects have a chemical compound called ethylene glycol in their bodies to help protect them from freezing temperatures. Sound familiar? This same chemical is found in the antifreeze you would use in your car!


Image courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.






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