Will Frogs be Victorious in a Battle of Reptile and Amphibian Defenses?

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Answered by: Monika, An Expert in the Pet Reptiles and Amphibians Category
Reptiles and Amphibians are unique creatures. They are present on every continent except in Antarctica. Reptiles and amphibians are cold-blooded animals, which means that they depend on external sources, such as the sun, to maintain their body temperatures. Both lay eggs when reproducing and they both have vertebrae, which is a back bone. Even though some of the most venomous reptiles and amphibians have a back bone, that doesn't mean that they're not preyed upon.

As a first line of reptile and amphibian defenses, most try to avoid being seen by predators. This is sometimes a challenge when they are trying to sun or digest their meal. Many are nocturnal and use the cover of darkness to avoid being eaten and/or seen. During the day, however, they tend to remain hidden beneath leaves, rocks, and logs, or in underground burrows.

A Basilisk lizard is very unique when it comes to protecting itself from predators while it's sleeping. It usually chooses to sleep at the far end of a small branch that is hanging over a pond or lake. If a snake tries to crawl down the branch to grab it, the additional weight will cause the branch to move and shake the Basilisk safely off into the water. Camouflage also plays a big role in their survival by using a variety of grays, greens, and browns.

Yet some alert their predators that they're inedible by being very brightly colored. Their color is a vivid advertisement of their toxicity. Interestingly, some reptiles and amphibians may be just bluffing. Some are harmless and have adapted their appearance to mimic that of a more poisonous relative. They take advantage of markings that bring caution and fear to predators. Some snakes also mimic their poisonous relatives as a means of defense. Threatening postures or behaviors are very common defenses for animals, even humans.

Probably the most notorious warning is the rattle of a rattlesnake. A rattlesnake is capable of striking for up to an hour after its death. Studies done by the California Academy Sciences in San Francisco have proven that the reflexes, possibly triggered by infrared sensors in the snake, are still active in the snake. Numerous cases have occurred where people have been bitten after decapitating or shooting the snake numerous times.

The most poisonous amphibian in the world is a frog. One Golden Poison Arrow frog has enough poison in its system to kill ten to twenty humans. Not only is a frog the most poisonous, some frogs have also developed the ability to fly. Southeast Asian frogs have flaps of skin between their toes that enable them to glide. So now nature is creating poisonous flying frogs?

But wait! There's more! The North American wood frog survives winters by freezing. When the temperature drops, the frog is capable of surrounding its organs with water that freezes. During this time, its heart stops beating, it stops breathing, and its kidneys shut down. The frog can stay in this suspended animation for months. When spring comes, the frog begins to thaw and is fully functional within a few hours.

Looks like frogs are the most extreme when it comes to reptile and amphibian defenses! They are poisonous, they can fly, and can basically die and come back to life after the winter is over!

So, now you know why it is safer to stay away from the frogs... and dead rattlesnakes.

You will lose the battle.

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