Have you ever wondered how frogs survive the winter, or how turtles can breathe under water?
The answers are hidden in WETLANDS!!
If you have been exploring around the biosphere, you’ve come across wetlands. These beautiful areas have a high biodiversity. This means they are home to many different species of plants, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals!
Believe it or not, wetlands are filled with life all year round! Let’s check it out.
At the start of spring, plants wake up from winter and you’ll see buds on trees and shrubs as they begin to grow leaves. Many bird species in the biosphere come back from the warm countries where they spend the winter. Birds such as the great blue heron and the ruby throated hummingbird return to the biosphere for the summer. Spring is a great time to see beautiful flowers, wildlife – and blackflies! Blackflies and mosquitoes might seem like a pest, but they are an important food source for many hungry animals in the spring.
During the summer, wetlands are a great place to explore! Keep your eyes peeled for rocks and logs in the water, these are great spots for observing frogs and turtles. If you’re lucky, you might get to see a water snake or two. Don’t forget to listen; you may be able to hear different bird calls and frog noises! One frog to listen for is the spring peeper. Just like their name says, they make a “peep peep” sound.
The Toronto Zoo Frog Guide in your Activity Kits show the different species of frogs in the biosphere and their noises. See how many different frogs you can see and hear this summer.
When the leaves begin to change and so do our wetlands! The birds begin to travel south again, and animals get ready for a long winter hibernation. But some animals stay awake all winter long – like the beaver! In the fall they finish building dams and lodges. The lodges are made from branches and mud near the shores of wetlands. Beavers have a waterproof coat of fur to keep them warm in the water and cold weather. Next time you’re in the wetlands look for signs of beavers, like chewed down trees and dams!
In the winter, most frog species survive by burrowing down into the land around the wetlands and going into hibernation. Their bodies almost completely shut down for several months – they don’t eat, they hardly breathe, and their heartbeat slows down almost completely. Some frog species like the wood frogfreeze in the winter and defrost in the spring!! Turtles swim to the bottom of the pond and hibernate in the top of the mud. But, how do they breathe? Turtles get oxygen by absorbing it through their skin, or through their cloaca – located in their bum!