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A Frog Without a Pond

Part of the Frogs: A Chorus of Colors exhibition.

Some frogs live in dry savannahs and scorching deserts. They survive long dry periods by limiting water loss and hiding from heat. During this aestivation, many cover themselves in a cocoon of dead skin. Others give themselves a rubdown with a waxy secretion. But most desert frogs hide from heat by going underground, sometimes for years. Spadefoot toads are expert diggers. Their shovel-like feet allow them to dig as much as 6 feet beneath the surface.

During dry periods, African bullfrogs cover themselves in up to 36 layers of dead skin. This parchment-like cocoon reduces water loss by 50 percent.

Water-holding frogs from Australia store water in their bladders during dry periods. Aboriginal people sometimes harvest this water by sticking the back end of a frog inot their mouths and squeezing.