Do Tree Frogs Hibernate?

Do Tree Frogs Hibernate

This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

Have you ever wondered about the survival of cold-blooded animals when you’re enjoying a nice cup of coffee in the chilly seasons? These cold-blooded animals, including frogs, hibernate in the winter season. You might have already known that tree frogs are also cold-blooded amphibians. Hence, tree-frog lovers often remain curious to know whether tree frogs hibernate or not.

Tree frogs hibernate in cold seasons like other cold-blooded amphibians. Tree frogs can not regulate their body temperature on their own. So, the body temperature of tree frogs is controlled according to the temperature of the surroundings. Hence, tree frogs go into hibernation when the temperature falls in cold seasons.

You might be interested to know the duration and seasons of hibernation, care of hibernating tree frogs, and so on. In this article, I have summed up all information regarding tree frog hibernation. If you want to get yourself enlightened more about this, I’ll urge you to go through this article.

At What Temperature Do Tree Frogs Hibernate?

The ideal range of temperature for tree frogs is 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Some species of tree frogs can survive up to 41 degrees Celsius.

When the temperature falls below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, tree frogs go into hibernation. The minimum temperature to survive for tree frogs, in hibernation, is -6 degrees Celcius which is 21.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

But, some species of tree frogs can survive below 19 degrees Fahrenheit in hibernation. Such as North American Tree Frog.

How Long Do Tree Frogs Hibernate?

Tree frogs hibernate to survive in the low temperature. Even the body temperature of tree frogs will go below freezing point if the environmental temperature goes below freezing.

The researchers found out that tree frogs hibernate for several days, weeks, even months. Usually, these frogs go into hibernation when the temperature starts approaching the freezing point.

When the snow of winter start melting, it is their time to wake up from hibernation. Also, the tree frogs often emerge from hibernation after rain.

After all, tree frogs need the ideal temperature to thrive in nature. Hence, they remain in hibernation until the temperature of their surroundings gets appropriate for them.

How Do Tree Frogs Survive Winter?

At a sudden glance, you might mistake assuming tree frogs are dead while hibernating. In the winter, tree frogs go through several changes to survive.

Generally, tree frogs burrow into the land, safely below the frost line. Some species of tree frogs are not pretty good diggers. Hence, they hibernate in the crevices of logs, trees, etc.

Not to mention tree frogs go through significant changes while hibernating in winter. Let’s get enlightened to know more about these changes.

Slow Metabolism

A remarkable adaption of tree frogs in winter is slowing down their metabolism rate. So, during hibernation, the metabolism rate of tree frogs slows down drastically. Hence, they can survive throughout the winter using only very little energy.

As a result, they don’t need to eat to fulfill their hunger. The slow metabolism rate helps tree frogs survive winter while hibernating.


As tree frogs are eco-thermic, their body temperature is highly controlled by the temperature of the surroundings. So, when the temperature goes below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, ice begins to form like crystals.

As usual, it is normal for tree frogs to turn into a block of ice due to the temperature fall. If this happens, tree frogs will die out of the cold. But, such troubles do not occur because of their anti-freezing characteristic.

When the temperature falls to make everything frozen, the liver of tree frogs starts doing the magic. The tree frogs’ liver starts converting the stored glycogen (sugar) into glucose.

Thus, the sugar flows through the bloodstream to every tissue of the tree frog body. As a result, this process prevents the cells from dehydrating.

This elevated glucose performs as a natural anti-freeze that protects the tissues from freezing. So, tree frogs can survive in winter without being frozen while hibernating.

Cutaneous Respiration

Cutaneous respiration is the only way of breathing during hibernation.  So, you can say that another way to survive in winter is the cutaneous respiration of tree frogs.

Because of cutaneous respiration, tree frogs require a pretty small amount of oxygen at cold temperatures. In this way, cutaneous respiration helps tree frogs obtain the required oxygen through their moist skin for an extended time.

If tree frogs continue respiration by diffusion, they’ll need to absorb more oxygen. Not to mention this will be hard for tree frogs during winter.

So, cutaneous respiration makes it easy for tree frogs to survive at freezing temperatures while hibernating.

Resumed Or Slower Activity Of Heart

Sometimes, the heart of partially frozen frogs stops beating. So, the frogs in hibernation almost appear as dead. But, not all tree frogs stop the activity of their hearts. They make it slow down.

The researchers found out an amazing comparison of the heart rate between an active tree frog and a hibernating tree frog.

While the heart rate of an active tree frog is 60.8/min, the heart rate of a hibernating tree frog is 21.9/min.

So, the heart rate becomes half slow during hibernation.

It depends highly on the up-down of temperature. The heart rate of tree frogs slows down when the temperature falls.

Besides, a slower or resumed heart rate means a slower metabolism rate. As the heart rate of tree frogs slows down, the calories burn out at a slower rate. As a result, tree frogs can save up their energy.

So, tree frogs’ bodies adapt by slowing down their heart rate during hibernation to survive in winter.

Where Do Tree Frogs Hibernate?

Generally, aquatic frogs hibernate on the bottom of ponds, lakes, etc. On the other hand, terrestrial frogs hibernate burrowing themselves into the earth. No wonder tree frogs belong to the second category.

Tree frogs hibernate in the land by burrowing themselves deep down into the soil. In the wild, you’ll find tree frogs hibernating in the rift of woods, logs, crevices of trees, or in deep leaf litter.

On the other hand, you need to provide deeper and richer soil substrate so that your pet tree frogs can hibernate smoothly.

Do Tree Frogs Hibernate In The Captivity?

Generally, tree frog species hibernate in the wild. When the surrounding temperature falls, tree frogs burrow below the frost line of the soil.

As tree frogs owner can maintain the terrarium temperature within the ideal range, tree frogs can not feel the drastic falls in temperature. As a result, these frogs do not feel the necessity of slowing down. So, in a word, if you let your tree frogs feel the drop in temperature, they will hibernate in captivity.

However, you should help pet tree frogs hibernate to maintain their natural characteristics.

How Can I Help My Pet Tree Frog Hibernate?

To give your tree frog a sense of normalcy, you should create the perfect environment for its hibernation. So, when the temperature falls in winter, you can start preparation for setting up a hibernation-friendly terrarium.

Let’s check out the following points to know how you can help your pet tree frog hibernate.

1. Prepare Hibernation Friendly Terrarium

As your pet tree frog spends its living in its terrarium, you have to make the tree frog terrarium comfortable during hibernation. Not to mention you should try to make a suitable terrarium to help your frog hibernate.

  • You can choose a plastic or glass container for your tree frogs. But, a glass terrarium will be more suitable as it helps you monitor the frog activity from the outside. Otherwise, the terrarium, which is used from beforehand, is also appropriate to hibernate.
  • Substrate is the most significant component for hibernation. As tree frogs tend to dig or burrow the substrate during hibernation, you must choose a deep and rich substrate.

Generally, tree frogs can dig from 6 inches to 3 feet to save themselves from cold. Hence, you must ensure that the substrate is almost 6-7 inches deep.

  • Also, you should choose such a substrate that will absorb the maximum amount of water. Such damp substrate will help tree frogs absorb oxygen through their skin while hibernating. So, you can provide compost heaps and piles of leaf litter, the sterile mix of sand and potting soil, cypress mulch, coconut bedding, etc.
  • On the other hand, some species of tree frogs can not dig the soil to hibernate. Such as spring peeper, wood frog, etc. These frogs take shelter into the crevices of logs, barks, rocks, etc. Thus, you should add such conveniences for tree frogs to hibernate in captivity.
  • Keep some holes in the tank to allow adequate ventilation.

2. Feed Your Tree Frog Well Before Hibernation

You might have already known that tree frogs burn the saved up energy and calories during hibernation. So, tree frogs must gain an abundant amount of calories before entering into hibernation.

Hence, you should give extra food to your tree frogs before the hibernation period. Do not forget to make a variation in their feeding menu.

So, you can add varieties of insects, worms, slugs, etc. Besides, you must not forget to provide proper supplementation.

It’s pretty usual to get fatten up of your tree frogs before going into a hibernation period. After all, your tree frogs need to store the required fats to survive while hibernating.

3. Taking Care Of Frog: How To Take Care Of A Hibernating Tree Frog?

The hibernation of your pet tree frog must be a new experience for you as a beginner. It is not only exciting but also discomforting to see no activity of your pet.

But, you need to take care of your hibernating tree frog to find it healthy after the hibernation period.

If you wish to ensure a smooth hibernation period for your tree frog, you should handle the terrarium environment first.  Do not forget to mist the terrarium a few times a day.

Also, you have to keep the temperature between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that the tank temperature remains stable.

Besides, you can leave some foods in the terrarium Usually, tree frogs do not eat during hibernation. But, if they come out of hibernation unexpectedly, they will eat the foods.

Moreover, you must avoid disturbing or touching your hibernating tree frogs unnecessarily.

However, you should monitor the hibernating tree frog regularly. When your tree frog hibernates, you should inspect its health. Also, you should check if there are any signs of infections on your frog’s skin.

What Happens If You Disturb A Hibernating Tree Frog?

You might have already heard about the conventional restriction of not disturbing a hibernating tree frog. So, you are not supposed to disturb your hibernating tree frog.

If you disturb a hibernating tree frog, this will startle the frog. Also, this can put the frog under stress. Not to mention, the natural cycle of hibernation will get disrupted. 

Hence, do not move the tree frog while hibernating. Besides, you should try not to make sounds in the room where the frog terrarium is placed.

If you’re compelled to move your hibernating tree frog, you should make sure not to hurt the frog. After finishing your work, you must place your hibernating tree frog into its previous place as soon as possible.

How To Take Care Of Pet Tree Frogs After Hibernation?

After waking up from a long sleep of hibernation, your tree frog demands a little more extra care for you.

As tree frogs do not eat anything while hibernating, they use their stored fats. So, the stored fats seem to get used or entirely burned out in the entire hibernation period.

Hence, you should provide varieties of foods to your tree frogs after their coming out of hibernation. But, you need to introduce your tree frogs to foods after hibernation slowly. Your tree frog may not digest foods properly after coming out of hibernation.

Thus, you can give a quarter of their daily diet for a week after hibernation. Then, you should slowly increase the amounts of foods and bring back their usual diet and feeding routine.

Besides, do not forget to gut-load the insects with supplements of calcium and multivitamins.

Moreover, when tree frogs come out of hibernation, their heart and lungs start working again. Their metabolism rate becomes normal.

To help your tree frogs thaw out, you should make the atmospheric condition of the terrarium perfect.

So, you should raise the temperature within the ideal range. Keep the terrarium temperature at 70 degrees Fahrenheit for a week. Then, increase the temperature between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit gradually.

Being warmed up, tree frogs can continue their usual life like before their hibernation period.

Besides, tree frogs tend to lose fluids and electrolytes during hibernation. To help them meet their needs of fluids, you should mist the terrarium with fresh water regularly. You can also add a water dish with safe water for your tree frogs.

Gradually, you must ensure meeting all basic needs and requirements of your tree frogs just like before.

Do Tree Frogs Look Dead While Hibernating?

Sometimes, people get confused assuming a hibernating tree frog is dead.

Tree frogs look dead while hibernating. Such is because they become still. Besides, these frogs show no sign of response when you touch them.

But, you must know the differences between the signs of a dead tree frog and a hibernating tree frog. Do not be fooled assuming them dead while hibernating.

Is A Tree Frog Dead Or Hibernating?

Tree frogs often appear dead when they hibernate. So, you need to know the signs of a dead tree frog during winter.

If you’re confused thinking whether the tree frog is dead or hibernating, you can check out the following signs to declare them dead:

  • Swollen tummy side
  • Dull coloration
  • Tongue coming out
  • Fungus on skin
  • Closed eyes
  • No movement
  • No breathing

If you see these signs, you can be sure that the tree frog is dead. Although hibernating tree frogs show no response or movement, the activity of their organs remains active.

Do Green Tree Frogs Hibernate?

Green tree frogs are also on the list of cold-blooded amphibians.

Like other tree frogs, green tree frogs also hibernate. They go into hibernation state in the cold temperature of winter seasons.

The metabolism rate and heartbeats of tree frogs go slower during hibernation. When the temperature of their surroundings goes above freezing points, green tree frogs come out from their long relaxation period.

When Do Tree Frogs Come Out Of Hibernation?

As tree frogs hibernate in the winter, it’s natural to assume them coming out in spring. But, tree frogs do not start coming out of hibernation in the early spring.

The weather remains cold in the early spring which is risky for tree frogs to wake up. When the snow starts to melt in spring, the tree frogs come out of hibernation slowly. You can see them emerging from hibernation after a rainfall of spring.

If tree frogs come out of hibernation early following an early warm stretch, they will die tragically. This incident is termed as winter-killing of frogs.

So, do not worry. Tree frogs hibernate for a short time. Thus, they will surely wake up after a heavy sleeping period of winter.

Final Words

As a frog owner, you must help your tree frog hibernate and take care of the frog after hibernation. I hope this article helped you get enlightened about all confusion regarding the hibernation of tree frogs.

About Muntaseer Rahman

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