Can you imagine living underground for nine months of the year and not eating, drinking, or defecating? Amphibians are amazing animals who do just that.
It is hard to imagine that in this dry region animals requiring consistent moisture could thrive. Three hundred and fifty million years ago the first fish-like amphibian hauled itself out of the sea. Fossilized remains of giant amphibians, such as metoposaurs, have been discovered within the sedimentary rock of the park. By the time dinosaurs appeared, amphibians were flourishing. Today, they are still among the most successful animal groups.
How have they survived and adapted to varied environments worldwide? Permeable skin! Amphibians do not drink; they absorb water through their skin. Spadefoot toads, residents of the park, absorb water from the soil in which they hibernate. Although permeable skin allows for water absorption, it provides little barrier to evaporation. This causes the animal's water balance to be in constant flux. Evaporative water loss also results in loss of body temperature. This is why you often see amphibians on warm pavement in the evening. Such behavioral and physiological mechanisms shape their daily life and make it possible for them to survive.
Amphibians recorded in the park
Ambystoma tigrinum Tiger Salamander