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The North American wood frog lives in many areas around the world but is one of the few frogs that can be found in Alaska and above the Arctic Circle.  Because the summers, are so short this frog develops from tadpole to frog extra fast.

Wood frogs belong to a small group of animals that can freeze but not die.  As the temperature drops below freezing each winter, the wood frog buries itself and goes into a deep hibernation, its breathing and heartbeat stop, and as much as 65% of the water in its body gradually turns into ice.  Sound uncomfortable? The wood frog doesn’t seem to mind.  It spends two or three months of each winter frozen, with its body temperature ranging between -1C and -6C.  When spring finally arrives, the ice melts, heartbeat and breathing return, and the frog is as good as new!

And guess what the first thing they do when they unfreeze is. Look for a mate! With the summers being so short they don’t have much time!

Scientists are very interested in studying this frog and its ability to freeze. Maybe in the future they will be able to do the same with people waiting for a transplant.  Just pop them in the freezer until a heart comes available.  Brrr! 

Wood Frog - Human impact
photo by Leanne Guenther

This wood frog fell (jumped) into a swimming pool in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  The chemicals in the pool basically bleached the poor fellow (frogs absorb water through their skin).  I'm not sure if he lived or died after his ordeal, but he wasn't looking too healthy when we left him.


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