Alaskan Wood Frog

These photos highlight the distinct characteristics of a wood frog. Their small, 2-3 inch length, pops up in my hand. On their back they have a lateral fold like many other frog species. The most distinctive point for recognition is that black marking on the side their face.

I’ve been in and out of Alaska quite a few times over the last few years but I finally got a picture I’ve been trying to get for those years – the Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvatica). This little guy jumped in front of me as I was meandering in the woods following a moose trail along a place called Cambell Creek outside of Anchorage. With a range extending from beyond the Arctic Circle throughout Alaska, Canada, the Northwest US, and all the way to the northern part of Georgia these small frogs have a huge habitat. But the most exciting thing about their living space is how far north they can go. Wood frogs live further north than any other amphibian or reptile. Why? Because of their famous ability to survive freezing. Even above the arctic circle they do not dig way down in mud during winter hibernation. Nope. All they do is snuggle under a log, heavy leaves, or something similar. Prior to this, however, they fill their body cells with a lot of glucose thus causing ice to form outside of their cells and not destroying them. Their heart stops but when the weather warms these amazing frogs come back to life, and start breeding in early spring. For more details on this amphibian visit the website of the Virginia Herpetological Society.

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