Surviving the Winter

As we all know, the winter has past and spring is upon us. So on a lovely warm and sunny afternoon, we left the lodge on a quest to find animals. Around an hour into the drive, my tracker (Magnum) stopped me and told me to look into the relatively small Knob thorn tree. I was amazed to find a small foam nest frog on a branch. I showed my guests, and spoke about the nest of this frog. One lady peeks over her husband’s shoulder and asked me how this little frog survived winter, because we all know that a frog likes and needs water. I immediately smiled and said that is a good question.
This little frog will make some adaptations to his/her body to slow their metabolism down and breathe less to save energy and moisture. They will also find a spot where they can rest without being bothered and where it is safe, hence the nest being made in the Knob thorn tree.
They will then tuck away their legs and seal it off with mucus to make sure they don’t lose moisture. In some cases, breathing will be stopped completely and oxygen will be taken up through the skin. The cells inside the skin will actually change so that they can take moisture in but nothing can be lost, almost like a one way valve.
So these animals risk everything and go through so many changes and troubles just to get through the winter. So next time you this winter is cold and you can’t stand it, think about these little creatures and how they change their whole bodies to survive.

Story by Rassie (River Lodge)
2013/09/24

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