ANSWERS TO GO with Susan Smith

Q. My son and I come to the library storytime each week. Last week, we heard stories about frogs. We especially liked “In the Small, Small Pond” by Denise Fleming so we took a copy home. Winter comes at the end of the story and it looked like the frog spent the winter under the ice, in the mud at the bottom of the pond. Is that really how frogs spend the winter?

A. We found the answer for this parent and child in Seymour Simon’s “Frogs.” This prolific author writes children’s science books with accurate information and great illustrations. In “Frogs” he writes: “In temperate regions, most kinds of frogs hibernate.

“By early autumn, leopard frogs and bullfrogs appear around the edges of ponds and streams. Before the ponds freeze over, these frogs go into the water and begin their winter sleep. Hibernation is when an animal slows down its breathing and body movement so that it can live through the cold winter by using the energy stored in its body.

“Leopard frogs and bullfrogs spend their winter sleeping on top of the mud at the bottom of the pond. They get oxygen from the water and don’t need to come up for air. At times, they slowly swim around.

“Frogs would starve or freeze to death if they did not hibernate in winter. When spring comes, temperatures rise and the ice melts. Frogs wake up and go on with their lives.”

Not all frogs live near ponds. Simon discusses them, too: “Frogs that spend their lives on land, such as the wood frog and the spring peeper, hibernate in deep cracks in logs or rocks or deep in leaf litter. These frogs are not as well protected from the cold as underwater frogs and may freeze. They can still survive because they have a high concentration of glucose, a kind of sugary antifreeze, in their blood.”

San Marcos Daily Record

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