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Frequently Asked Questions
Students Ask and Experts Answer
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Ecology

Q. Where do frogs live?
A.
They live near lakes, ponds, and streams. This habitat helps keep their skin moist, which is necessary to their survival.

Q. What do frogs eat?
A.
Frogs are carnivores. They eat other animals, typically bugs and worms.

Q. How do frogs hunt for food?
A.
Except for an occasional blink, the hunting frog sits almost motionless. It waits for a meal to fly by, then snares it with a long, sticky tongue.

Q. How does a frog use its tongue?
A.
When a fly or bug flits by, the frog hurls out its sticky tongue, snares the prey, and curls its tongue back in to swallow the meal. It's similar to casting out a fish line, then reeling in a fish.

Q. How is a frog's tongue different from most animal tongues?
A.
It is attached in the front instead of the back, just the opposite of most tongues.

Q. Why do so many frogs come out onto roads when it rains?
A.
Frogs need to keep their amphibian skin moist. They come out to move over land without drying out when it's rainy and wet. They come out on rainy days or nights to forage.

Q. Where do frogs go in winter?
A.
Different species have different stategies for surviving winter. Northern leopard frogs, for example, pass the winter at the bottom of deeper lakes, far beneath the ice. They settle quietly on the lake bottom in deep water. They stay concealed behind a log or other debris to escape predators. Other types of frogs may hibernate under leaf litter.

Q. How do frogs survive the winter in cold places?
A.
The frogs hibernate in burrows or bury themselves in mud. Toads and frogs are cold-blooded and their body processes slow down as the outside temperature drops. This is why you sometimes find frogs sunning themselves in the spring. Their body temp needs to rise for them to move well. Frogs' bodies have some natural antifreeze chemicals built into them, but a few kinds of frogs who live in especially cold climates can even survive being frozen solid.

Q. Do frogs migrate?
A.
Frogs migrate when they go between their shallow summer breeding ponds and deeper lakes where they overwinter. Sometimes they have to cross busy roads to do this, which results in many frog deaths during spring and fall migrations.

Q. How do frogs time their migration from summer breeding swamps to winter lakes?
A.
They move during rainy or high humidity days or evenings. Frogs stay out of the deep lakes until they are ready to hibernate, as hungry fish would gladly make a meal out of them. Frogs that arrive early hang out in the vegetation along the shore. Frogs that arrive later, when the weather is colder, swim way out to deep water, ready to begin hibernating.

Q. Do frogs hibernate?
A. Frogs hibernate to escape the freezing temperatures of winter. Their heartbeats and breathing slow, their body temperature drops to nearly match the outside temperature, and they pass the time in a state of dormancy or torpor. Aquatic frogs hibernate under water and take in oxygen from the water through their skin. They spend most of the winter lying on top of the bottom's mud or partially buried in mud. At times, they may even slowly swim around. Terrestrial frogs, including the spring peeper, normally hibernate on land. Spring peepers, for example, are not adept at digging; instead they find deep holes or cracks in logs or rocks, or simply burrow down in the leaf litter
as far as they can.

Q. If frogs need to have wet skin, how do they survive during very hot or very dry spells?
A.
During extensive periods of heat or drought, frogs keep from losing water by digging a burrow in the ground and entering a state of estivation a period of dormancy or torpor.

Q. Why do frogs sun themselves?
A.
This behavior is called basking. When temperatures are cool, frogs need to bask in sunshine to warm up enough to be able to move. That's because they are cold-blooded, which means their body temperature changes with the external temperature.

Q. What is a frog's role in the ecosystem?
A.
Frogs eat insects, small fish, and other small aquatic and terrestrial animals. In turn they provide food for fish, some large insects, snakes, lizards, larger frogs, birds, and small carnivorous and omnivorous mammals.


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