How to Tell if Your Tree Frog Is Male or Female

One of the common questions Frog lovers come with is how to differentiate between a Male and a Female Frog?

Especially while introducing a new Tree Frog at home, pet owners often wonder whether it is a male or female. 

Learning about a Tree Frog’s sex is relatively easier than several Biologist makes it look.

To determine gender, there are several male and female characteristics to look upon.

As long as you know about the frog’s species, the process becomes easy. 

Differentiate from the appearance.  

Size and color

Commonly, the female frogs are larger than the male. Female frogs are usually half an inch longer and slightly heavier than males.

So, looking at their size, you can differentiate between their gender. 

This is also the reason, during the mating process, female frog carries male frogs on their back.

Due to their own size and weight, it is easier for them to do the same.

For color, male frogs have different body spots and marking in some species than female frogs. 

Ear (Enlarged tympanum)

The tympanum or eardrum is a circular area near the frog’s eye.

If the tympanum is larger than a frog’s eye, it is definitely a male frog.

However, if the tympanum is smaller or equals to the eye’s size, it is a female frog.

Determine the gender during Mating

Another way to determine a frog’s gender is during Mating or by their mating behavior.

For the mating process, a male frog generally hops onto the back of a female frog.

A male frog can hop onto both males and females from the tribe.

However, they will stay in a female, finally holding onto her until she lays her eggs.  

Also, during the mating process, the color of the male frog’s throat gets darker than that of the female frog.

Hugging and Humping are also male-only behaviors when it comes to frogs. 

Closely listen to their Calls and Sounds.

Male frogs advertise themselves all night making the croaking sound.

Especially during the mating season, call from potential breeding sites in order to attract the female from their tribe. Upon listening to the best sound, females choose their mate. 

However, there are certain species where both genders make calls.

Male frogs typically croak at night and even keep away the other males from their territory.

Female frogs can croak in order to respond. Or you may hear them scream when in danger. However, like males, they won’t croak continuously at night.

Look upon their vocal sacs.

When a male frog makes a sound, its vocal sac fills with air, and its throat expands.

In Contrast, the rest of the time, male throats are thin with baggy skin.

At the same time, the female frog’s throat remains smooth and of the same size all the while. 

Male frog’s throat skin is also different in color than their entire body. At the same time, the female frog’s throat is of the same color. 

Other Physical differences

Male frogs at times can have heavier-looking arms than females with noticeable muscular growth.

It is because while gripping onto the female frogs, the males develop hook-shaped adornments on their hands. 

Male frogs’ vocal cords are present at the ventrolateral side of the throat; however, female frogs lack in the same. 

In some species, female frogs have smoother skin while the male has rougher skin. 

In North American frogs, females are brown with a hint of red coloration. At the same time, males are light to dark brown in color.

However, the red tint in female frogs develops when they are ready (Aged enough) for reproduction.

A female frog that is not adult enough may not have that red tint. 

North American frogs, dedicatedly the males, have a tail-like structure.

They use this structuring during Mating for fertilizing the female eggs internally.

However, a female frog from the species lacks tails. Male of this species also have hair-like papilla or mustaches of spines. 

During the breeding season, the abdomen of a female frog grows or swells.

It happens because the female abdomen is full of ova released from mature ovaries.

In Contrast, the male abdomen does not change much.

Nuptial pads on the hands or thumbs

Male and female frogs have a slight difference in their hands and thumbs. Each of their thumbs has rough patches and raised flesh.

If their thumb looks larger then thicker than another finger, it is definitely a male frog.

Though these differences are not the best for determining a frog’s gender, they can help you a bit.

During Mating, the male thumb enlarges (raised/ puff) and gets dark. It gets a patch of textured skin, which is also called a nuptial pad.

This even helps male frogs to hold on tight over females’ backs during Mating. 

However, some tree frogs do not have nuptial pads. Other than that, female frogs and immature males too lack nuptial pads.

Also, this feature is difficult to see other than the mating season. 

Reproductive Organs

Be it any living species, males and females have different genital organs; similar is the case with frogs.

However, regardless of external Mating, the genital organs of both male and female frogs are internal. 

Male frogs have a spermatic canal (not penis) and two interior testicles for producing sperms.

At the same time, a female frog’s body posses’ oviducts, ovaries, and uterus that store eggs. 

Though determining a frog’s gender through their reproductive organs is only possible by operating them. There is no external and operating way for the same. 

Observe their Humping behavior

As discussed above as well, male frogs often hump. Especially during the mating process, the male frog humps over the female frog’s back. However, you may notice male frogs humping on other occasions as well. They may hump over objects like rocks, plants, or even other male frogs, for that matter. However, in Contrast, you will never observe a female frog humping. 

Male Frog vs. Female Frog- Some More Facts. 

Apart from the above-determined characterization, that remains the same for both male and female frogs. Have a look:

  • Both male and female frogs can camouflage themselves against similarly-colored things. 
  • If threatened, both male and female frogs will run and jump to defend themselves. 
  • Both the gender’s shed their skin and eat it. 
  • Both male and female frogs can change their gender during the tadpole phase. This process of sex change is known as protogyny. 

For Further Reading

frogboy or girl? sexing frogs’ apart

10 Things to differentiate male frogs apart from females :

Croaking or Singing: Typically only male frogs sing or croaks except for white tree frogs.

Body size: In most frog and toads species, females are on average bigger than males.

Nuptial pads: Males frog species usually have rough patches of skin on their footpads to help them in climbing and holding on to surfaces.

Throat Skin: Males in some species have loose skin on their throats while females don’t.

Ears (Tympanum): Male frogs have larger ears than Female frogs of the same species.

Physical traits: Male frogs have spines and dermal papilla that distinguish them from females.

Colors: Males have vibrant colors while females are usually dull and non-attractive.

Vocal sac: Most male frogs (including tree frogs) have a “vocal sac” in their throats, which they inflate like an air balloon while croaking or making mating calls.

Male Behavior: Male frogs have active behavior as compared to female frogs. They attach themselves to logs, rocks, trees, and objects.

Mating: Only male frogs cling to female backs for mating and the “hugging” or “humping” aspect is referred to as amplexus.

Male Frog Vs Female Frogs infographic for kids


Can female frogs turn into males?

Yes, Frogs such as green frogs (Rana clamitans) can change their sex even in natural and pristine environments.

Can female frogs reproduce without a male?

The answer is both Yes and No. Female frogs give eggs without males counterparts, However, Egg fertilization happens outside as the male sprays sperm for the external fertilization process.

Do frogs drown each other?

Yes, During “explosive breeding“male frogs competing with other males leads to the death of the female either by crushing, suffocating, or drowning.

Do only male frogs croak?

Typically only male frogs sing or croaks except for white tree frogs where female croaks too.

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