Who is Playing the Banjo Badly on the Shores and in the Marshes of Southern Ontario?

Sometimes in the late spring and summer in southern Ontario if you go for a walk near a lake with marshy edges or beside a swamp you will hear a really weird sound. Sometimes it sounds vaguely like gul-gul-gul. Other times it seems to twang like someone plucked a string on a badly tuned instrument, maybe a banjo. It’s not the deep throbbing jug-o-rum call of a Bullfrog. It’s different. More random; Less musical; But still quite loud. Who or what is responsible for these odd exclamations?

While rambling through Riverwood recently, I got to see the perpetrator in the flesh. Or, to be more accurate, in the pond. The odd twanging calls were coming from a Green Frog.

Some Green Frogs are Actually Green Frogs

Photo of Green Frog On NaturalCrooksDotCom

I’m not playing “Who’s On First” with you.  There actually is a type of frog in Ontario called the Green Frog.

You may be thinking: “But aren’t all frogs green?” Well actually no, they’re not. Grey Tree Frogs, for example, may be green but they are often solid grey. Wood Frogs are usually brown with black masks. Leopard, Bull and Green frogs, though, can be green. Strangely enough, Green Frogs can also be bronze or brown, although according to the Ontario Nature website they usually have a green upper lip.

Is Blowing Yellow Bubbles Attractive to Your Eyes?

While I was watching this good-sized Green Frog lying in the water, it decided to call again. As if it was Dizzie Gillespie getting ready to blast his trumpet, the frog inflated a brilliant yellow throat pouch. Then it let the call rip. No wonder they’re so loud!

Photo of Green Frog Yellow Throat on NaturalCrooksDotCom

But the puffy yellow throat must be a frog thing. Personally, I didn’t find it attractive at all.

It did get me wondering, though, whether both male and female Green Frogs puff up and sing. So when I got home I went looking to find out.

Who Does the Singing in the Green Frog Family Chorus

According to the Wildlife of Connecticut website only the males call to attract a mate. More conclusively, it states only the males have the yellow throat pouch to inflate to call. So this frog I was watching was a male Green Frog.

Green Frogs are Holding Their Own

So far Green Frogs are managing to cope with human interference in their habitats. They are not currently classified as under threat in Ontario. That said it still is a nice thing to report sightings to FrogWatch.  I reported these Green Frogs to them.


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Have you ever been startled by a sudden loud off-key croak? Was it a Green Frog? Please share your experiences with a comment.

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