Fooling Frogs to Get Frisky

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    NEWSLETTERS

    USGS
    Mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) in City Creek, San Bernardino County, Calif., September 13, 2005.

    In order to help a certain breed of frogs make babies, zoo researchers are putting them in the refrigerator. Literally.

    Scientists at the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research have 24 mountain yellow-legged frogs in a special refrigerator (aka beverage coolers) hoping that the cold temperature will seem like the same conditions in which they normally hibernate.

    In the wild, the frogs apparently get frisky when they come out of hibernation.

    They went into the cooler Jan. 1, 2010. After the frogs have hibernated for a few months in 40-degree temperature, San Diego Zoo scientists will start raising the temperature a degree a day to slowly warm them back up, according to a zoo news release.

    Scientists hope the frogs will be back in action at the beginning of April.

    The mountain yellow-legged frog is one of three frogs or toads on the federal Endangered Species List in Southern California. There are about 200 of them left in the mountains of southern California, according to the zoo.