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Can Frogs Cry? Learn About Their Emotional Expression

Can Frogs Cry

Frogs are full of many wonders. One of the questions you might be asking yourself about these creatures is whether they cry and how they do it. This article will discuss more details about whether frogs cry.

Can frogs cry? The answer is yes and no, depending on how you define cry. Frogs are not capable of physically shedding tears as a way of crying. Instead, they let out loud, high-pitched screams or distress calls as a form of crying when in pain or danger.

This article digs deeper into the topic of whether frogs cry and how they do it. We’ll discuss whether frogs have any physical indicators they are crying, why they may cry, and so on.

Can frogs cry?

The short answer is yes and no, depending on what you mean by the word “cry.”

If you mean crying by shedding tears, then frogs do not cry in this manner, they don’t have the tear glands responsible for producing tears in mammals.

Therefore, they can express pain or discomfort by physically shedding tears.

Can frogs cry

However, if we were to define crying in frogs as an expression of pain or discomfort, then it’s a YES! Frogs do cry when they are in pain, sad, or in the face of danger.

In this case, they cry aloud by producing high-pitched noises or even releasing distress calls. For instance, if they come face to face with a predator, frogs will cry out loudly.

Producing the common frog scream is usually a way for the frogs to communicate with fellow frogs that they are in danger so that they can help it as well as escape the danger as well.

In addition, these loud screams help confuse the predators and give the frogs time to flee.

However, you may have heard that some frogs have been seen shedding tears.

What you may not know is that this is not an actual tear but a secretion from its skin that it uses as a defense mechanism against predators.

Do frogs shed tears?

Frogs cannot shed tears because they don’t have tear glands in the first place. These act as the “storage” of tears, so their absence means no tears.

As we’ve just mentioned above, some frogs may be mistaken to be shedding tears when stressed or handled.

But the truth is that these are just skin mucus-like secretions they produce to defend themselves against predators.

Do frogs shed tears

Still at it, you may ask yourself “are there any physical indications of a frog crying?” The answer is no, there are now physical signs that indicate a frog is crying through shedding tears.

However, keep in mind that while frogs may not cry as we humans do, they may still indicate some physical signs that they’re stressed or in pain.

Some signs to look out for include:

  • Your frog becomes less active
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden silence
  • Hiding
  • Trying to escape its enclosure
  • Making loud, distress calls

All these could be ways for your frog to express their emotions. Their living conditions may be unsuitable or it could be a completely different reason, so you need to find out the cause.

Why do frogs cry?

Why do frogs cry

There are many instances when a frog will cry (by screaming out loudly). Some of these instances are listed below:

  • Predators: Probably the most common reason why frogs will cry aloud is when they are faced with a threat such as predators. This cry helps confuse and fend off a predator. The frog may also scream to alert fellow frogs that there is a predator nearby.
  • Territorial defense: Some male species of frogs are territorial and may release loud screams as a way of keeping other frogs away and defending their territories.
  • A distress call: When a frog gets in the hands of its predator, it may also release distress calls.
  • A release call: This type of call happens when a frog tries to get into a mating position with a female that’s not interested. The female will then produce a release call to communicate disinterest.
  • Mating calls: Not all cries mean the frog is in danger. Sometimes the males may just be making calls (most males usually feature vocal cords and vocal sacs) to attract females for mating. This usually happens during the rainy season for most species.
  • Rain calls: Frogs screaming out loud could be sounds of rejoicing when the rains come, humidity is high, and there’s an abundance of food. Such favorable conditions can make frogs so happy!

Besides crying, frogs may also show additional behavior that indicates they are under stress.

For instance, they may flash their bright colorations or puff up their bodies to ward off predators. Some species produce toxic secretions to keep off predators.

Do frogs scream in pain?

Yes, a frog in pain will also scream. However, it will not do it in the same manner humans scream.

The frog crying sound when in pain or if injured will simply come out as vocalization or distress call to communicate with other frogs in its vicinity that it is in pain.

Do frogs scream in pain

The specific sound the frog produces can vary depending on the species as well as what situation the frog is in.

For instance, while some species produce high-pitched calls, others produce low-pitched tones as distress calls.

Can frogs cry at night?

Yes, frogs screaming at night is a common occurrence. This is because most frog species are nocturnal and are therefore most active and vocal at night.

So, why do frogs cry at night? The amphibians crying at night may be distress calls or screams to ward off predators that may be pursuing them in their environments.

Can frogs cry at night

However, frogs crying out does not always mean that they are trying to express pain or distress.

In some cases, they might just be communicating with fellow frogs, calling females for mating, or even defending their territories.

Why do frogs scream when you touch them?

A frog may scream when you touch it because it may perceive your touch as a threat.

It will therefore act quickly and let out a loud scream in an attempt to defend itself or wrestle itself off the “threat’s” hands.

In other words, the frog wants to prove that it is not an easy target and will not go down easily.

Why do frogs scream when you touch them

Depending on the species, it may also produce toxic secretions on its skin if handled. This will then be followed by a loud scream to warn its perceived threat that it is poisonous.

If you are a froggy owner, it’s important to understand that handling this creature isn’t always recommended as it can be harmful to it.

You should only touch it when it is absolutely necessary.

Even then, you should be cautious and do it gently to avoid bringing any harm to the frog.

You should also ensure your hands are clean or wear latex gloves. Frogs have permeable skins that may absorb unhealthy oils from your hands.

Do frogs use crying as a defense mechanism?

Yes, frogs will let out crying sounds as a defense mechanism against predators or any other potential threats.

The loud, high-pitched vocalizations they produce can be a way to startle or confuse the predator, helping the frog escape.

Besides, the vocalizations will warn fellow frogs about a potential threat nearby.

Do frogs use crying as a defense mechanism

However, most frog species have other defensive mechanisms against predators apart from making vocalizations.

Some of these adaptations include toxic skin secretions, flashing bright colorations, camouflaging, mimicry, playing dead, puffing up their bodies, etc.


Is there a frog that sounds like a crying baby?

This bullfrog from China produces a unique vocalization that sounds like a crying baby.

Why do frogs croak when it rains?

Due to their dependability on the water for breeding, frogs usually start croaking when it rains to communicate and attract fellow frogs for mating rituals.

What is the cry of a frog called?

The cry of a frog is simply known as croaking. It also goes by other names such as chirp, trill, hoot, ribbit, etc.

The emotional expressions of frogs can be a fascinating topic to explore. If you’re interested in learning more about frog anatomy, you might find our guides on does a frog have a neck and do frogs have scales intriguing as well. Our guide on does a frog have a neck delves into the unique skeletal structure of frogs and how it contributes to their mobility. Additionally, if you’re curious about the skin of frogs, our guide on do frogs have scales provides insights into the presence or absence of scales on different frog species. By exploring these guides, you’ll gain a better understanding of the anatomical characteristics and unique adaptations of frogs.


Frogs can cry but they do not do so by shedding tears. They lack tear glands like those found in humans. However, if crying is defined by an expression of pain and discomfort, the frogs usually cry out loud by reducing high-pitched screams that alter other frogs of imminent danger.

Some frogs may seem as if they’re shedding tears when under stress or handled. However, these are not actual tears but skin secretions they use to ward off predators in the wild. Overall, while frogs may not shed tears, they have various other ways of expressing sadness, pain, or discomfort, just like other animals.

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