We are all familiar with the nightly croaking our hopping friends bring to a forest setting or nearby pond. But can you believe that visitors to the French Alps – aka SNOW – are also listening in on frog serenades? Rana temporaria live and breed 6000 feet up in partially frozen ponds in the Alps.
Only during brief thaws in their pond – sometimes not until June – are conditions right for breeding and egg laying. As with other frog species, males court their female counterparts with resonant ribbits. Imagine the surprise when passing a frozen pond to hear just such a mating call from beneath the ice!
Far Out Snow Frog Facts:
- Cold climate frogs grow slower than their cousins in warmer reaches but live more than twice as long
- Although they grow slower, they grow bigger
- The “mating game” with the male clasping the female from behind can last two or more days
- Eggs are 30% larger in these snowy reaches, bigger tadpoles housed within to have a better chance in harsher surroundings
- These high-altitude frogs have developed a resistance to ultraviolet radiation common in thinner higher altitudes
Cold weather is not for everyone but for a few frogs in the Alps, it is just their cup of tea.