Frogs croak at night because they want to attract a potential mate. Males croak at night to attract the females hoping that their song will be enough to get a female to join them and breed with them.
Frog breeding is commonly observed from March to late June, and that is the time when you might hear the most croaking at night. Frogs are at their most comfortable breeding at night because that is when they are most active, whether they are breeding or hunting their prey.
Why Do Frogs Croak so Loudly at Night?
The main reason why you might hear frogs croaking so loudly at night is that males are trying to attract females to mate with them.
Croaking is the natural mechanism of how a male would attract a female. Just like we see with many other species, frogs also have their mechanism for attracting mates.
Peacock males, for example, will spread their plumage to impress the female. Some birds will also let out beautiful songs to attract their mates.
And like that, frog males also have their techniques. One of them is a loud croaking. The hearing of the female is designed in such a way that it singles out the potential noises and croaking coming from the males.
This is called a selective hearing, and the female will primarily focus on male mating calls and ignore other calls in the process.
The frog is risking its life when it is croaking loudly at night, so the mating behavior doesn’t always end well for the frog.
In the course of making such loud noise, frogs are also exposing themselves to the potential dangers of predators. That’s why many male frogs will only croak when they are near the water so they can easily hide.
Female frogs are attracted to the croaking of the males. They will evaluate the croaks of the males and will prefer to mate with males that can produce higher intensity and lower frequency sounds.
The power of the croak demonstrates the frog’s ability to provide for the female and protect her, which is why it’s often the basis for the female’s choices.
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Frogs Also Croak to Fight Off Enemies
Frogs may croak loudly at night to ward off predators, or to defend their territory from other frogs.
Frogs can be quite territorial against other members of their species and other frogs or toads, so they will often croak to warn others to stay away from their territory.
Frogs often croak because they want to warn other frogs or toads to stay away and they want to assert dominance with their sound.
This sound is to warn others that the female they are trying to attract is theirs, and females will also choose the male that is croaking the loudest and most potently.
In many frog species, like in the dendrobatid frogs, the fight for the territory also means the fight for potential female mates.
For males of that species, croaking is a necessary mechanism that drives other males away and allows the dominant male to establish dominance over a territory, which gives him access to higher-quality females.
Females thus will look for calls that stand out. The more powerful the croak, the better the prognosis for the future is.
If a male has a powerful sound, then it is also more likely that it would be able to produce healthy offspring, and that is the message that females get when they hear loud noises.
Why Do Frogs Only Croak at Night?
Many species of frogs only croak at night because they are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day.
At night, most frogs will actively hunt for prey and look for other activities, such as attracting potential mates. They will do that because primarily, they are nocturnal by nature.
This means that they’re at their most active at night while taking the opportunity to rest during the day or do other tasks.
But there are also other underlying reasons why they might only croak at night.
One potential reason why they mostly croak at night is the winds. They want to avoid strong winds, and at night, it’s less common to be windy than during the day.
And that is why they will croak at night, which will allow the voice of the male to spread further than it would during the day when there are stronger winds.
Also, frogs tend to croak right after it stops raining at night. Rain creates perfect conditions for the frogs to start breeding, which is why they will start to look for breeding right after it stops raining to take advantage of these perfect weather conditions.
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Can You Stop Frogs From Croaking at Night?
Frogs have been croaking at night for 190 million years. Croaking is an essential part of a frog’s existence, so there isn’t much you can do to limit the noise.
In most cases, it is just nature doing its thing and if you try to change it, you won’t be able to do too much.
Frogs are very instinctive and they will croak when they feel the right opportunity to do so. So even if you try to limit their habitats, you won’t have that much success with this option.
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Most frogs will croak mostly at night because that is when they are at their most active. They are mainly nocturnal animals, which means they will spend most of their nights being active.
Frogs also breed during the months between March and July, so they will start croaking during these months, in particular. Males try to attract female mates with their strong croaking. The male that has the strongest croak wins out, so males will compete against other males to have the strongest croak out there.
Breeding is one of the main reasons why you might be hearing frogs croaking a lot at night.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.