While we struggle to keep warm during this cold, cold winter, there’s a frog with a unique solution — put yourself in deep freeze for the duration and thaw in the Spring. North American Wood Frogs freeze solid as soon they touch ice.
They do that by pumping out all the water in their three-inch bodies, filling the organs with glucose (sugar) that acts like antifreeze. The heart stops. The frog no longer breathes. The brain freezes solid. You can thump the frozen bodies and nothing moves.
In the Spring, they slowly thaw out — it takes hours — and start the mating process. Because of this system, they’re able to start mating before other frogs and animals begin digging out from under their protective cover. When you’re a three inch tasty morsel, you need every advantage you can get.
The tadpoles tend to live in temporary ponds caused by snow melt and don’t last if they’re not grown before the water dries up.
Wood frogs are found throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. They’re typically a tan color, but can also be brown and nearly black.
For more info, check out the National Wildlife Federation. Here’s a video that explains the freezing process. It’s a bit older and fuzzy, but very good: