Frog Respiration and Hibernation
Name: Louise P.
Date: Thursday, June 06, 2002
How do frogs breathe when they are hibernating?
Amphibians need to reside near water in order to keep their skin moist. The
one advantage to this moist skin is that it can conduct oxygen, much like your lungs.
During hybirnation, frogs dig deep under or near a body of fresh water where they slow
their metabolism and heart beat significantly. Diffusion of oxygen through the skin
is adequate to sustain the animal until the spring warm up and resumption of
Aquatic frogs absorb oxygen through their skin and body cavities. This is from
"Aquatic frogs such as the leopard frog (Rana pipiens) and American bullfrog
(Rana catesbeiana) typically hibernate underwater. A common misconception is
that they spend the winter the way aquatic turtles do, dug into the mud at
the bottom of a pond or stream. In fact, hibernating frogs would suffocate
if they dug into the mud for an extended period of time. A hibernating
turtle's metabolism slows down so drastically that it can get by on the
mud's meager oxygen supply. Hibernating aquatic frogs, however, must be near
oxygen-rich water and spend a good portion of the winter just lying on top
of the mud or only partially buried. They may even slowly swim around from
time to time."
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Update: June 2012