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American Toads Calling

5-13-13 A. toad singing2 096Most of us are familiar with the American toad’s breeding call – a long trill that advertises his presence to potential mates in the area. However, American toads have three other calls, as well. A shortened version of the courtship trill, which sounds like a chirp, is given by male toad with its vocal pouch just slightly inflated. A second, release call, is often heard when a male is clasped by another male. (If you want to hear it, just pick up a male toad during the breeding season – it will vibrate as it chirps right in your hand. The combination of the call and the vibrations usually causes a clasping male to release his grip.) A fourth call, which has been recorded in the lab but not in the field, is a series of quiet clicks given by the male while clasping a female.

5 responses

  1. Connie Snyder

    This fascinating info causes me to wonder about the mechanism of frog and toad calls. So, the throat is inflated. Then what? Exactly what does the air pass through or across to make the unique sounds – the music of the American Toad; the snore of the Pickerel Frog, etc.?

    May 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    • Hi Connie, great question! Basically in order to produce a call, a toad or frog closes its mouth and pumps air back and forth between its lungs and mouth, over its vibrating vocal cords, using its throat pouch as a resonating chamber.

      May 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

  2. Connie Snyder

    Amazing! Thank you.

    May 14, 2013 at 1:35 am

  3. Pat

    I had felt the vibration. Cool!

    May 28, 2013 at 2:17 am

  4. Pat

    I have 5 toads and they were chirping and I looked here

    May 31, 2013 at 2:36 am

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