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Only the kissed frog is allowed to share the beautiful room with the princess as a prince. All other frogs are left out. They hop around in our gardens or perch at the edge of the pond. In summer they delight us with a loud concert every day. But in winter they suddenly disappeared from the scene. Has the cold robbed them of their vital energy? Or do they have their very own way of spending the winter outside unscathed?

frogs, toads and body temperature

Frogs and toads are amphibians cold-blooded animals. This means they don't maintain their body temperature at a constant level all the time. Rather, their body temperature is linked to the prevailing outside temperature. Of course only within certain limits. In winter, the temperature is therefore switched down a few degrees. However, if the temperature falls below 10 °C, this has further consequences for the Quakers. They fall into the so-called hibernation and hibernate in this state.

Hibernation: Living on economy mode

As early as October, the temperature in this country can fall below 10 °C. Movement is hardly possible for frogs and toads. Your chilled body won't allow it. If the temperatures drop further, other bodily functions are throttled until only breathing and the heart work on the back burner. In this economy mode, energy consumption is kept to a minimum so that the animals can get through the winter with a few accumulated reserves.

  • Stiffness sets in at temperatures below 10 °C
  • Animals remain motionless in their place
  • if it gets warmer in between, the rigidity is interrupted
  • then they hop around in winter too
  • if the temperature drops again, the hibernation follows again
  • own body mass supplies the required energy

Dangerous temperature range

Ambient temperatures down to zero degrees are still tolerable for these amphibian species. However, if the thermometer reads in the minus area indicates is for the little hoppers risk of death. All bodily functions come to a standstill and the animal dies. Only a few specimens manage to defy the freezing cold for a short time.

That is why a protective hideout absolutely necessary where it is a few degrees warmer and you can safely overwinter in it. Because no one knows in advance whether the approaching winter will take these animals into consideration and only string together mild days.

Safer refuge for the wintertime

Toads and most frog species winter on land. They are not nest builders, the hiding place must already be found suitable.

  • prefer moist burrows
  • underground tunnels of mice and moles are ideal
  • hidden places under tree roots
  • crevices
  • Interstices under stone slabs
  • Cavities under damp wood
  • pile of leaves
  • Toads also like compost heaps

notice: In autumn, many frogs and toads migrate in search of a suitable place to hibernate. They also cross traffic roads. Pay special attention to these endangered animals at this time of year to avoid being run over.

Hibernation in the water

The edible frog, the common frog and other pond frog species like it particularly damp and therefore spend the winter in standing water if possible.

  • the body of water must be sufficiently deep
  • Animals swim to the bottom of the water
  • there, even when there is frost, temperatures are usually in the plus range
  • while the water surface freezes over
  • bury themselves in mud and become "invisible"
  • Plant roots and algae are welcome privacy screens from predators

pool with low water level pose a potential hazard to animals when venturing into the winter cold. Due to the low water depth, the frost can penetrate to the bottom and the frogs would freeze to death.

notice: Make ponds in your garden inaccessible to frogs as early as autumn. A fine-mesh lattice cover prevents the green hoppers from entering these unsuitable waterholes.

Breathing under the ice surface

Once the water in the pond freezes, the frog will be underneath locked in. Although he is in hibernation, he still needs oxygen. It is only present in small amounts in water. Is that enough for the frogs that overwinter in it? To make matters worse, lung breathing is not possible under water. Fortunately, the frog is on two tracks in this respect.

  • can breathe with the lungs and through its skin
  • in summer its oxygen demand is high
  • then he is dependent on both types of breathing
  • only skin breathing is possible in the frozen pond
  • it is sufficient, since the need for oxygen decreases with rigidity

Food is off the menu

Animals that cannot move due to hibernation have to come to terms with an empty stomach. That's not so bad, because while they hibernate, their oxygen requirements are only a fraction of what they normally are. They have to get the fuel for breathing and the light heartbeat at times feed on and hope that it is sufficient. Because if the winter fat is completely consumed in the middle of winter, there is no replenishment within reach. This is one of the reasons why many frogs don't welcome spring alive, especially in bitterly cold winters.

Offer your own pond as a winter hotel

The home garden pond may be a good winter shelter for water-loving frogs. It should be deep enough so that the water doesn't freeze all the way to the bottom.

  • The minimum depth is 50 cm
  • 80 cm or more is even better
  • the deeper the pond, the warmer it stays at the bottom

Another survival factor is sufficient oxygen supply during the freezing winter months. Although the amphibians have reduced their oxygen intake, basic supplies must still be available. This can become a problem, especially with designed ponds. Are these, for example, with rotten rot covered, additional oxygen is consumed. It should be removed in the fall.

Other measures can improve the oxygen content:

  • Installation of a permanently running filter/oxygen pump
  • Reeds in the pond enable air exchange
  • Use of oxygen-producing underwater plants such. B. horn leaf
  • Remove dead plant parts, leaves, etc.

If the garden pond is covered with a thick layer of ice in winter, the frogs underneath are in hibernation. But even in this resting phase, they react to disturbances from outside. They then briefly wake up from rigidity and needlessly consume a lot of oxygen, which they could lack at a later point in time. Avoid you therefore this Set out of the ice layer and other influences that can lead to the awakening of the winter guests.

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