What Sounds do Frogs Make?

Frogs make a variety of sounds from the common “ribbit ribbit” to the more sophisticated croak, chirp, or hoot. But the sound a frog makes truly depends on a variety of factors.

As a general rule, the sound a frog makes depends on the species, their intent (mating, territorial defense), and the language that the human interpreting the sound speaks. English speakers think frogs make a “Ribit Ribit” sound whereas French speakers hear “Croac Croac.”

Let’s have a look at each of these factors in more detail.

Frog Sounds Depend on Species

Each frog species has its own sounds and calls. This allows male frogs to attract female frogs of the same species. Frogs use sounds and silence to attract and warn other frogs. They may make a long trill or small chirping with intermittent pauses.

Frog SpeciesCallType
Spring PeeperChirpMating Call
Green FrogQuackTerritorial Call
Wood FrogQuackMating Call
American BullfrogBellowMating Call
American Green Tree FrogHonkMating Call
Leopard FrogSnoreMating Call
American ToadTrillMating Call
Western Chorus FrogTrillMating Call
Pickerel FrogNasalMating Call
Green And Golden Bell FrogGrowlMating Call
Desert Rain FrogSqueakDefence Call
Eastern Narrow-Mouthed ToadBleat (Lamb)Mating Call

For example, male Spring Peeper make peeping and chirping sounds that they sing in chorus which can be heard up to 1km away from their location in the early Spring. These frogs are very small but can make loud, high pitched chirps to attract females of the same species during mating season.

Green Frog Sound

Green Frogs sound like a banjo being strung

Spring Peeper Sound

Spring-Peeper-min
Spring Peeper make chirp-like peeping sounds

Above you can listen to what Spring Peeper sound like, and see what they look like up close in the video below where I go on an adventure to find them. Even though they are loud and right next to me, they are hard to spot! But it is rewarding once you finally find one.

Wood Frog Sound

Wood frogs sound like ducks quacking

American Toad Sound

Where do Toads Live-min
American Toads make a very long trill

In the recording above you can hear the Wood Frog mating call, which sounds like ducks quacking or saying “Hourah, Hourah!” Spring Peeper and Wood Frogs are generally the first frogs that call during early Spring in the North-Eastern United States, and in Eastern Canada.

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Frog Sounds in Words

If there is a frog making calls in your backyard and you want to know what it is, this table may be able to help you.

Here are common sounds frogs make, and what the call may sound like to us (English speakers in North America, see further down the article for other languages and locations).

Frog SpeciesCallWhat The Frog Sounds Like
Spring PeeperPeepCrickets but in the Spring
Green FrogBoogBanjo being strung
Wood FrogHourahChickens clucking or ducks quacking
American BullfrogBmmHorns honking or cello sounding calls
American Green Tree FrogBarkA very small dog barking
Leopard FrogGurr HahaSnore or door crack ending with a laughing sound
Gray Tree FrogRiiingOld phone ringing
Western Chorus FrogBeeeRunning your fingers over the teeth of a comb
Pickerel FrogBrrrrA creaking door opening
Desert Rain FrogEeeeeA dog squeaky toy
Eastern Narrow-Mouthed ToadBaaaaA sheep or lamb

Spring Peeper are present in Eastern Canada and the United States and sound like crickets in the spring.

Green Frogs and Wood Frogs also call during the Spring and sound like ducks quacking. If you hear a frog that sounds like a sheep or lamb bleating, it may be a Eastern Narrow-Mouthed Toad.

Pickerel Frogs sound like a creaking door opening. And American Bullfrogs sound like horns calling, notably during the Spring and into Summer.

If you would like to identify a frog sound in your area, start by looking for indicators that frogs are present near a water source like a pond, lake, stream, or river.

Also, consider the time of year since frogs actively call during mating season. Find out which species are present in your area and match what you hear with the species.

Frog Sounds Depend on Intent

Frogs can trill, chirp, scream, bark, grunt, peep, beep, cluck, croak, quack, whistle, bellow, and hoot. But their choice of sound depends on their intent. Frogs make different sounds for different reasons, for example, to attract a mate, defend their territory, or fend off a predator.

Some Frog Sounds Can Be Heard Up To 1.6km (1 Mile) From The Frog

Frogs have a unique mating call to attract frogs of their own species. Male frogs find the perfect place to reproduce and then call female frogs to them during mating season. In North America, Spring Peepers, for example, will find small ponds and make high-pitched quaking sounds to call mates. 

Frog SpeciesSoundIntent
Spring PeeperHigh Pitched QuacksMating Call
Wood FrogQuacksMating Call
American BullfrogDeep CroaksMating Call
Green FrogDeep CroaksMating Call
Pickerel FrogLong Deep GruntsMating Call
Desert Rain FrogSqueakDefence Call

Frogs have unique calls to defend their territory. Both male and female frogs will call, warn or scream to defend their territory from other frogs or predators. Most frogs make sounds at night to avoid attracting predators that are active during the day.

Generally, frogs scream to startle or scare predators. Frogs may also release distress, warning, mating, territorial and rain calls that could sound like screaming. Screaming generally is one of the many defence mechanisms a frog may use to protect itself.

Some frogs scream when they are afraid or if a predator gets too close. A frog scream may sound funny (watch the video above) but it can be an effective way for them to surprise a predator and deter it from attacking (CTNF). 

The Desert Rain Frog will puff up like a little balloon and scream to scare its enemies and defend itself. It is a tiny frog and its scream sounds more like a squeak from a dog’s toy, but if they are still here today and using this technique to scare predators, it must mean it works!

Click here to read 8 Reasons Why Frogs Scream on our blog

Frog Sounds Depend on Linguistic Interpretation

If you speak English, then you may believe that frogs “Ribit Ribit.” But if you speak French, a frog makes a “Croac Croac” sound. And for Spanish speakers, frogs make a “Croá, Croá” sound.

Here are some other sounds frogs make depending on the language you speak:

LanguageFrog Sound
EnglishRibbit Ribbit
FrenchCroac Croac
SpanishCroá, Croá
ItalianCrack Crack
HungarianBrekeke
TurkishVrak Vrak
GermanQuak Quak
RussianKvah Kvah
KoreanGaegul Gaegul 개굴개굴
JapaneseKero Kero ケロケロ
ChineseQuawk Quawk

It is important to keep in mind that how the human interprets the sound a frog makes is also a factor that comes into play when imitating frog sounds. Also, some languages have more precise verbs and adjectives to describe such sounds compared to others.

More About Frog Sounds

Frog calls depend on the frog’s intent and how us humans interpret their sounds. Learn more about frog sounds in the guides on our blog below!

What Sounds do Toads Make? As a general role, toads make croaking, quacking or chirping sounds depending on their intent including mating or territorial defence. Each toad species has unique calls and sounds.

How Do Frogs Make Sounds? Depending on the species, frogs use their vocal sacs to make sounds by closing their nostrils and pushing air into their lungs and vocal sac using it as a resonating chamber. Only male frogs can make sounds but some female species were found to do so as well.

Do All Frogs Sound The Same? All frogs do not sound the same since each species has its own unique calls. Male frogs make unique calls using their vocal sacs to attract female mates, to defend their territories, or fend off predators.

Can Humans Hear All Frog Sounds? Humans cannot hear all sounds frogs make as scientists found a frog species that can communicate using purely ultrasonic calls, whose frequencies are too high to be heard by humans. 

Are Frogs Noisy? Frogs can be noisy in the wild especially around mating season. If there are tens to hundreds of frogs competing to attract females, they may increase the volume of their mating calls to drown out other males.

How do You Identify a Frog Sound? To identify a frog sound, start by looking for indicators that frogs are present in the area with a water source, and consider the time of year since frogs actively call during mating season. Find out which species are present in your area and match their mating calls.

Why do Frogs Scream? Some frogs scream when they are afraid, feel like they are in danger, to defend their territory, or if a predator gets too close. A frog scream may sound funny but it can be an effective way for them to surprise a predator and deter it from attacking. 

What Words Can Describe Frog Sounds? Words to describe frog sounds include trill, chirp, scream, bark, grunt, peep, beep, cluck, croak, quack, whistle, bellow, and hoot. The sound a frog makes depends on their intent.

Sources

Music of Nature: Calls of Frogs and Toads

Pure Ultrasonic Communication: PLOS Journals

14 Fun Facts About Frogs: A 15-Minute Book: Educational Version