Students Ask and Experts Answer
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
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
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
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?
hibernate to escape the freezing temperatures of winter. Their
heartbeats and breathing slow, their body temperature drops to
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
peepers, for example, are not adept at digging; instead they
find deep holes or cracks in logs or rocks, or simply burrow
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.