The Riddle of the Freezing Frogs

Posted by on Nov 2, 2012 in Johnsons from the Front | 0 comments


I have a holding pond for irrigation water on my property. Within a few weeks after the incoming water is shut off in mid-October, the pond drains. What is left is a thick layer of mud that freezes during the winter. I have always wondered what happens to several of my “pet” frogs during the winter.

Several years ago, I had to deepen the pond during the winter. As I was digging through the frozen mud, I exposed two of those frogs. They were frozen! I carefully reburied them, and when spring returned, and the pond was once more filled with water, there were the frogs. The pond sits on the point of a hill, and its only source of water is through a 2 inch supply pipe. These frogs are much bigger that the supply line, so these were not new frogs that were carried to the pond through the pipe. The frogs I have were actually transplanted to the pond many years ago by some young boys whose family was borrowing our house for a short time.

So how did the frogs survive through the winter? Interestingly, just today I read an article from Creation Moments about freezing frogs …

 “… science has a growing list of creatures that do, indeed, freeze in the winter, and thaw and resume life in the spring. Scientists recently added three species of tree frog to that list. As the cool, fall weather sets in, these northern tree frogs usually burrow beneath the forest’s leaf litter. However, if there is little snow, the frogs have no protection from freezing. Scientists assumed that the frogs’ bodies manufacture antifreeze, as do some insects and polar fish.

“When scientists collected some tree frogs for laboratory study in the late fall and winter, they received a surprise. Up to 35 percent of the frogs’ body fluids froze when the frogs were cooled to several degrees below freezing. When thawed, the frogs returned to normal activities. Scientists discovered that the frogs’ bodies produced glycerol. This alcohol acts as an antifreeze. What is more important, it prevents ice crystals from forming in a way that destroys cells.”

I have not felt inclined to dissect any of my frogs to see if they are packed with glycerol. However, I am awed that, whether it is antifreeze or not, they are able to survive the freezing winter. Scientists can observe what they do, but how that process came to be can only be contemplated upon. One of the questions I could not satisfactorily answer when I believed in evolution would have been, “How many times did they have to die before they learned that neat little trick?” It seems to me that they were created with the right system for survival, rather that the process of chance and accident, because you don’t get a chance to fix things once you are dead!


Lanny Johnson

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