Just How Long Can This Frog Go Without Water Anyways?

What if I told you there was a frog in Australia that can actually go 2 years or more without water?!?  Would you believe me or would you think I was nuts?  Just think about this for a moment … 2 years!  How long can you go without water?

Allow me to introduce you to Litoria platycephala (formerly Cyclorana platycephala), the Water-holding Frog. It is a terrestrial and freshwater frog common to much of Australia.  It can readily be found in both arid and semi-arid regions that are typically made up of clay soil.

Unlike many other amphibians around the world, is it not considered threatened or endangered.  It has been given the Least Concern status on the IUCN Red List actually because of it’s wide range and large population numbers.

Finally some good news in the amphibian world!

So  just how does a frog actually survive up to two years without water?  Just wait –  you are going to love this!

It is called estivation or aestivation. Huh? Don’t worry … I’ll explain!

Estivation or aestivation is really just a state of dormancy somewhat similar to winter hibernation. But unlike hibernation, it takes place during the hot dry seasons in various parts around the world. There are many different terrestrial and aquatic animals that actually undergo estivation from mollusks to the Malagasy fat-tailed dwarf lemur.

The water holding frog estivates during the hot dry season in Australia by burrowing underground where it is considerably cooler and more humid.

During the Australian rainy season, the frog will actually gain about 50% of it’s body weight in water.  It will then burrow approximately 3 feet down into the clay where it creates a kind of chamber for itself –  it will stay in this chamber until the next rainy season.

Don’t believe me? Check out this amazing video!

Did you know that Australian Aborigines discovered a way to take advantage of this?  They by dig up one of these frogs and gently squeeze it which causes the frog to release some of the fresh water it stores for itself in its bladder and skin pockets!

Care for a little frog juice anyone?

By Candace, SaveTheReptiles.com


About Candace M Hansen

Wildlife advocate, conservationist and environmentalist.
This entry was posted in Amphibians, Featured Articles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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