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Nature's alarm clock failed this Duluth frog

A Duluth frog who woke up from an abbreviated hibernation was lucky to land at an animal rehab center

If you've ever mistakenly set your alarm too early, you know what a bummer it is to realize you're missing out on some needed sleep.

But what if your alarm went off three months early?

There's a frog in Duluth whose body clock went so haywire the little amphibian started hopping around at Christmas time.

That could be a fatal mistake for a cold-blooded critter who's supposed to spend the winter months hibernating. At least this one had the good fortune to land on a sidewalk where a couple of compassionate Minnesotans noticed the frog was out of its element.

They brought it to the Wildwoods animal rehab center, where the staff opened their doors to the cold little froggy on Christmas eve.

Frogs hibernate?

It's not quite the same as a bear in a den, but yes, frogs hibernate.

There are lots of different kinds of frogs and they each do things a little differently. But as cold as it is here in Minnesota, all of our 14 different kinds of frogs and toads shut down for the winter.

Their heart and breathing rates slow down to almost nothing and most of them quit moving. Frogs who live in water often do this below the surface or in muddy areas at the edge of a pond. They need to be around moving water, though, because that's where they get their oxygen.

Toads and others who live on land usually dig down below the frost line, although some may just bury themselves under leaves.

Scientific American and the Ontario parks have more basics about frog hibernation.

One tidbit we learned: for some frogs it's actually OK for their bodies to freeze in the winter. High glucose levels act like antifreeze to protect their heart and lungs so those will work again when everything else defrosts in the spring.

Or on Christmas eve, in the case of a certain rogue froggy in northeastern Minnesota.

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