why do frogs scream

A couple of days ago I was trying to sleep but couldn’t because some frogs were screaming. At that moment I thought “why for heaven’s sake are they screaming all night long!?”

Around 5 am I finally decided to find out why frogs scream and to make an article about it.

Not only to inform you, but also to help you get rid of it if you want that (you find the answer to this at the bottom of this article).

Even though I was awake all night and felt miserable… I really hope you will enjoy this article! Here it is!

Nearly five thousand frog species live on every one of the world’s continents except Antarctica.

Tropical zones receive the highest concentration of frogs. Frogs are amphibians which means they can live on both water and land.

The water is where they begin living life as a tadpole. In different ecosystems, species of frogs vary but every frog has vocal abilities to attract mates, indicating danger or declaring their territory.

Frogs yodel, click, rasp, thump, trill, honk, saw, tap, croak, hammer, peep and scream.

For example, you can hear the arrival of spring when frogs emit a high-pitched peep that sounds like a high note.

When frogs live around swamps, ponds, and in the woods, you can hear them simultaneously peeping and screaming just before spring arrives. But this isn’t the primary reason for screaming. 

Also Read: Why do frogs croak? (And how do frogs croak?)

Why do frogs scream?

Frogs scream when they are terrified. Believe it or not, most species of frogs certainly scream. Some frogs may sound funny when they scream but the truth is they are terrified.

The usual cause of their piercing, shrill shrike is due to alarm at predators such as dogs or cats. The shriek resembles a startled baby’s scream and lasts for over 5 seconds. 

Crocodiles and juvenile birds sometimes emit similar calls to attract their parents’ attention.

However, very little is known about distressed frog calls. Most agree that this shriek was a mechanism that evolved to scare off possible attacks.

It also may be a way to attract other predators. For example, if birds attack a frog, the scream of the frog could then lure in a cat.

Currently, the jury is out for the true reasons for this evolutionary trait.

Newts also emit distressed calls in the form of muffled, short groans. Such tactics are reported about toads, however.

Maybe being able to fill up your body with air and having poisonous glands is sufficient. 

Why do frogs scream at night?

Frogs scream at night when they are stressed out or feel threatened.

While other animals scream as a mating call, the same cannot be said for frogs.

They might feel there is danger lurking around the corner. Perhaps they were cornered by a larger animal such as a cat, which scares the frog, causing it to scream.

Frogs only scream when they feel threatened and terrified of something they perceive as danger.

If you have seen videos gone viral of frogs screaming at night, the reason is not that they are trying to be funny, but because they are in fact, feeling quite scared.

Why do frogs scream when you touch them?

Frogs scream when you touch them out of fright. Frogs scream when they perceive danger and are not trying to attract a mate, as some belief.

When you touch a frog, it no longer feels safe. Thus, it emits a high-pitched screech that sounds like the high scream of a very small child.

Can we harm frogs or can they die when we touch them?

Kissing a frog might seem like a good idea in fairy tales but not in real life. As a matter of fact, kissing or touching a frog to try and turn them into a prince could kill them.

In real life, kissing frogs could harm both the kisser and the frog. In fact, touching or kissing a frog could kill them and cause health problems for the human beings that did.

While most folks know that touching a toad or a frog won’t give you warts, they do transmit disease. For example, frogs can give humans salmonella poisoning and tapeworm cysts.

If not treated immediately, these diseases could cause serious complications. 

There are natural oils and salts in the hands of humans that irritate the skin of frogs.

Thus, touching frogs with dry hands cause severe health issues for the frog, sometimes even death. Salt from your hand can injure or kill frogs.

The reason is that frogs have moist skin so when you touch them, the saltwater or salt in your skin causes a burning effect.

Excess salt gets rid of their cells’ water and disrupts their body equilibrium, so this could cause them to become dehydrated to the point of death. 

For the right kind of person, however, frogs can also be good pets. You won’t get the same interactions and enjoy the way you would from a cat or dog, but you will like toads and frogs if you have an aquarium. 

The most interaction you will most likely be able to get from a pet frog is when he eats crickets from your hands. They are the kinds of pets that you can look at but not touch.

When you keep frogs or toads captive, you get a glimpse into their behavior and life that you would otherwise never really know about.

Many frog species rival the average tropical fish in aquariums and are quite colorful. However, they are strictly a hands-off kind of pet. 

Do frogs do other things when they feel threatened?

It’s a tough world out there and since they can’t carry weapons, frogs need other ways to keep themselves protected. Most frogs scream when they feel threatened.

However, they also do other things that they use as defense mechanisms for when they sense danger. Here are a few things that frogs do when they feel threatened:

  • Mimicry

To protect themselves, some frogs fake it till they make it. Frogs like pretending they are things they aren’t just to survive. Pretending to be leaves or part of the soil is the way frogs become invisible to predators.

Other than leaves and soil, frogs also mimic logs and other poisonous frogs. The ones that mimic poisonous frogs turn a bright color to look poisonous but actually don’t have any poison at all. 

  • Poison

Frogs protect themselves by making sure no one wants to eat them. Being poisonous for other animals helps protect the frog. They acquire toxicity from their diet. Other frogs generate their toxins. Other than screaming, poison is another way that frogs defend themselves. 

  • Color

Frogs protect themselves using color. When it comes to color, frogs can become bright or they can blend into their surroundings.

When frogs become bright, this is called aposematism.

Bright colors warn predators of the frog’s toxicity. Bright colors also alert other animals to danger.

On the other hand, there is a reason that frogs are green. This is to remain protected as they blend into their surrounding vegetation.

Gray and brown are also common frog colors that enable them to become camouflaged and almost invisible to the naked eye. 

In their fight against predators, frogs can also use their size. Small frogs are hard to find. Smaller frogs are experts at hiding to avoid danger. Other frogs do the opposite.

They can fill their bodies up with air to look fat and scary. Others stand on their toes to look taller. These are the defense mechanisms that frogs use to scare off what they perceive as danger. 

  • The horror of Horrors!

One frog has a defense mechanism in which the frog breaks its arm bones to use claws for defense. The frog that does this is aptly named the Horror Frog.

  • Belly Up

Some frogs have a defense mechanism called unkenreflex. This is when they arch their back to show off their bellies which have warning colors on them to scare off other animals. 

  • Urination

Another defense mechanism frogs use to ward off their enemies is urination.

That’s right, some frogs urinate while hopping away in order for their enemies to be repelled and their tracks to be covered. 

What to do if I want to get rid of screaming frogs?

 Amphibians including frogs love moist areas like piles of leaves and brush. Keeping your house surroundings dry deters screaming frogs from hanging around.

Keeping your lawn trimmed and mowed reduced populations of insects and encourages a dry area, thus discouraging a frog from living there.

Preventing water Stagnation

If your area has a pond, you can scoop out frog eggs before they hatch. For garden pond owners, you might want to drain your pond once a month for this purpose. Keep your pond water moving decreases mosquito and frog populations. 

Controlling the frog population

To get rid of screaming frogs once and for all, you must begin controlling the variables of their habitat. Get rid of hiding places and other structures that attract frogs, like a pile of leaves, brush, and piles of wood.

For homes with larger lawns consider regularly mowing it short. This keeps frog food like mosquitoes under control. If you find habitats or locations around your area where frogs seem to be breeding, scoop out their eggs each time you are in the area. 

Using Bleach to repel frogs.

Frog infestations can be warded off with bleach. Use a third cup of bleach to three gallons of water and the smell seems to repel frogs and they move away before you know it! Saltwater is also something that frogs hate as it burns their skin.

Using Citric acid to repel frogs?

If you can find citric acid at the garden store, you can put a solution of 1.3 lbs citric acid to a gallon of water into a spray bottle and spray this directly on the frogs.

This helps reduce damage as it gets rid of the frogs without getting rid of the other more helpful garden bugs. 

For Further Reading

If you found this article helpful, I have some more articles about frogs, their behavior, and stuff like that, that you might find interesting.

Below are a few links to these articles and I hope you really enjoy reading them!

Do you want to know if frogs can breathe underwater and if they can drown? You can find the answer in this article.

Do you prefer an article about the eating habits of a frog? You can find out if frogs eat fish and other animals right here.

Rather find out what frog poop looks like? Click here for an interesting article about the poop of frogs.

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