Tags: North America, predator, reptile
Ontley (own work)
Wood frogs have a special adaptation to survive the extreme cold that is common in winter in many of the places they inhabit. They allow themselves to become frozen! Well, not completely. Their bodies create a natural antifreeze that keeps ice from forming inside their partially frozen bodies. Ice crystals are very sharp and would damage their tissues and internal organs. When the weather warms up in the spring, they thaw out and become active again.
Perhaps because of this special winter adaptation, wood frogs are the only North American amphibian species that can be found north of the Arctic Circle. In the Northwest Territories wood frogs have been found all along the Mackenzie River, in a few places on Great Bear Lake, and in many places near Great Slave Lake. Wood frogs prefer wooded areas but will also frequent marshes and other wet areas. Wood frogs are carnivorous predators: they eat mostly insects but will try to eat almost anything that is smaller than themselves. They don’t actively hunt for food. Instead, they like to sit and wait for their prey to come to them
Wood frogs are some of the first frogs to breed in the spring. They lay their eggs in temporary ponds caused by rain or snowmelt. These ponds don’t have any predatory fish in them, which makes it more likely that newly hatched and young tadpoles will survive. Because summer is very short in many of the places they live, wood frogs take the shortest time of all the frogs in North America to develop from tadpoles into adult frogs.
This map shows the areas where wood frogs are known to live in North America United States Geological Survey
Elliot, Lang et al. The Frogs and Toads of North America: A Comprehensive Guide to their Identification, Behavior, and Calls. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.