Why Do Frogs Scream?

Reviewed By Kyoko •  Updated: 12/28/21 •  6 min read
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Why Do Frogs Scream

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If you’ve been around frogs for any length of time, then you know they can make different types of sounds. But did you know that frogs can also make a “screaming” sound?

In this article, we’ll take a look at frogs and their screams. This might be helpful information for anyone who has a frog as a pet!

Frogs & Communication

You’d think that an amphibian, such as a frog, wouldn’t need to have a form of communication. However, when you consider most animals in the wild, each one has their own specific method of communication. This also includes frogs!

Frogs can make several types of sounds. For instance, frogs have a specific call they use for courtship. You might call these “songs,” which are used to woo female frogs to mate and lay eggs. Male frogs also have certain calls to say, “I’m here, this is my territory,” to keep other frogs away.

Did you know that frog communications are used on land and in the water? Some Froggie sounds travel through the air, while others go through the water. Not only that, but frogs can also send sound through the ground! Then there are certain species of frogs that use a hard surface to communicate, and others that use a log or even a blade of grass to communicate and find mates.

If you’ve ever paid attention to frog calls in the wild, you may even hear some frogs communicating and then other frogs responding! Communication is very important for frogs. It covers everything from recognition of species, finding a mate, and defending territory. Frogs need to make sounds in order to survive.

Frog & Sound Production

OK—we’re not trying to mislead you into thinking that frogs have a sound booth where they produce sounds! The subheading refers to how frogs make their sounds.

Frogs, like us, have a larynx, which is the voice box and contains the vocal cords. Air flows across the vocal cords and into the frog’s mouth, where the sound bounces around (oscillates). The frog also has vocalization muscles and an air sac below the mouth, which can be used to create sound.

With their sound production capabilities, frogs can yodel, click, rasp, thump, trill, honk, saw, tap, croak, hammer, peep and scream.

What Makes a Frog Scream?

Scientists believe frogs scream because they’re stressed and scared. Most frogs, in fact, scream. Some sound a bit like a kitten meowing, while others sound like a regular scream. This is part of the frog’s defensive mechanism. Frogs may scream when a predatory is nearby.

It’s thought that frogs evolved to scream in order to scare off predators. However, there’s a problem with that theory. If a frog screams at one predator and scares it off, he’s also just helped other predators pinpoint his current location! That means a frog’s scream could attract even more predators!

Interestingly, other amphibians also scream. This includes toads, newts, and more.

Why Do Frogs Scream at Night?

Here, again, frogs may scream at night because they’re being pursued by a predator. They’re afraid and feel they’re in danger of being preyed on. They may sense a larger animal is nearby, such as a dog or cat.

Why do Frogs Scream When You Touch Them?

More than likely, frogs scream when touched because they’re terrified. They feel as if they’re in danger and so scream. This is the frog’s only way to let you know he’s not comfortable being handled or picked up.

You may have seen plenty of videos on YouTube where a person has picked up a frog. As a result, the frog screams. Many people find this funny or cute. However, in reality, the frog is terrified out of his wits. So, if you are near a frog and it begins to scream, leave it alone. This is nothing funny—the frog is terrified and stressed out.

Other Defensive Mechanisms Used by Frogs

Frogs have a variety of other mechanisms they also used in addition to screams when scared. They’ve evolved these methods because frogs are commonly preyed upon by other animals. These include birds, snakes, and more.

Here are some other things a frog may do if scared:

Mimicry: some frogs can pretend to be something else, such as leaves, dirt, and more. They can also look like branches or logs, poisonous frogs, and more.

Poison: there are also frogs that produce poison to protect themselves. Some frogs produce the toxins in their body, while others create poison from the things they eat.

Color: color changes are another way frogs can protect themselves. They can blend into their surroundings or become a bright color. The bright color is used to make them resemble poisonous frogs. Frogs can camouflage themselves so well you really can’t see them!

Size: frogs can also change their size by inflating their bodies with air to look bigger and scarier. This is done to scare off predators. They can also stand on their toes to look taller and more.

Unkenreflex: this is a term used for frogs that arch their back and show off their bellies. This is done to show off some bright colors on the belly that are used as a warning sign to predators.

Urination: this is a bit gross, but frogs may also use urine to get away from predators. They may urinate as they hop away. The smell of the urine is thought to repel the predator and cover the scent of the frog as he hops away.

Summing It Up

As you can see, frogs can and do scream! Their scream is probably to show they’re terrified and may be used to scare off predators.

So, if your pet frog screams when you approach or try to handle him, it’s better to let him alone. Would you want your frog to feel afraid of you or be stressed? No. Plus, it’s not really funny if your frog is screaming. It means he’s afraid. In that case, it’s best to let him be until he becomes used to you and used to his surroundings.

Always show great respect to your frog and all pets. You and your frog will feel much better and have a happier, easier relationship when you respect him and his feelings!

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Kyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!

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