How to Know a Frog’s Gender

If you have ever tried looking at a frog to guess if it is male or female, you credibly realized it ’ s reasonably unmanageable. It is about impossible to tell whether a frog is male, female, or hermaphrodite because its generative organs are internal, so determining a frog ’ s gender can be complicated. however, there are characteristics alone to each frog species that will help you differentiate frog sex. As a general rule, ways to determine if a frog is male, female, or both include species, appearance, size, color, mating behavior, and vocalizations. Male and female frogs look similar as their reproductive organs are internal and cannot assist in determining gender unless the frog is dissected. Figuring out whether a frog is a male, female, or both is less complicate once you determine the species. Learning what characteristics are unique to each sex will help you sort out gender. Keep read to learn what features will help you determine frog sex as a general rule, and more specifically for sealed species.

How to Generally Determine a Frog’s Gender

If the common ocular cues to determine a frog ’ s gender aren ’ triiodothyronine obvious, it turns out that some generalities can help you make this decision. however, knowing what character of frog or the species and understanding the differences between the sexes is the best way to tell ( more on that below ).

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The general characteristics and behaviors that can help you tell male frogs from female frogs are:

  • Size: Female frogs are generally larger than male frogs
  • Mating rituals: Males are on top of females while mating
  • Sounds: Male frogs generally have vocal sacs to call females

All this information is helpful, but if you actually want or need to pin down the gender, let ’ s have a deeper attend at how to determine the sex more accurately. here is a helpful table showing versatile attributes of a frog ’ s appearance and how they differ between the sexes : Trait Females Males SizeFemales are generally larger than malesMales are generally smaller than females, making it easier to climb up on the female’s back during amplexus. ColorIn many frog species, the male and females share the same color. In some frog species, males change color during mating season. Skin Female frogs generally have smoother skin and do not have any texture.If there is texture to a frog’s skin, such as bumps, fringe, or spikes, it’s generally a male (except for toads which could be either).SoundsFemale frogs can make noise; however, vocalization is a trait where the males excel. An exception to this is the Emei music frog from southwest China. Male frogs are more vocal, and a vocal sac will be visible. A vocal sac is a thin membrane located on the underside of the neck that facilitates making sounds like croaking. EarsThere is an ear covering called a tympanum. On females, this disc is the same or smaller circumference as her eye. The tympanum of ear covering on a male is generally bigger than its eyes.Appendages Female frogs generally do not have pads or patches on their toes. There are a few species that have a fringe used to help in nest making.Some males have pads, rough patches, or larger toes during mating season designed to help the male grip the female more effectively during amplexus. ReproductionGenerally, females are on the bottom of a reproductive couple’s amplexus to lay eggs.Generally,  males are on the top of a reproductive couple during amplexus to fertilize eggs. But you may have noticed above that we said some frogs are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both genders. Let ’ s research this in more detail.

Some Frogs Have Both Genders

Some frogs may be hermaphrodites, intersex, or experience sex reversal. This can happen due to the presence of pesticides (Hayes et al, 2010) but may also be “a relatively natural process in amphibians” (Lambert, 2019).

“ While sex about-face and hermaphrodite are frequently considered aberrant responses to human activities and associated pollution, we found no such associations here. Our data possibly begin to suggest that, relative to what is much suggested, arouse reversal may be a relatively natural process in amphibians. ”Lambert et al (2019)

It is a lot harder to identify an hermaphrodite frog, however, some frog species are more prone to having a high number of hermaphrodite individuals. If you are concern in learning more about hermaphrodite frogs and the deviation ( and amalgamation in media ) with “ gay frogs, ” decidedly check out our essay on the subject. Let ’ s have a closer look at particular frog species since it is easier to determine sex when you know the type of frog at hand.

Identifying Male and Female Frogs Across Species 

You must be excited to put your newfound cognition about determining whether you are looking at a male or a female frog to use. Let ’ s spirit at a few particular examples to see the actual differences between different frog genders depending on the species.

African Dwarf Frogs

The African Dwarf Frog is a species where the males and females look therefore alike it is unmanageable to tell them apart. however, there are key features that can help you figure out the genders :

  • When mating or when excited, the males of this species hum or sing. 
  • The females are generally larger and when they are ready to mate, exhibit more of a pear shape, indicating they are laden with eggs and ready to mate. 
  • If you look closely at the back of the male’s front legs and hands, there is a small white bump or black patch that is a gland thought to be helpful during mating. 
  • Males are generally smaller and have slimmer bodies than females. 

african Dwarf Frogs are known to be either bear hermaphrodites, hermaphrodite, or experience sex reversion. This is one of the reasons why they are often studied by scientists when it comes to gender in frogs ( Hayes et aluminum 2010 ). however, it is difficult to observe intersexuality in frogs without scientific dissection ( do not do this yourself ) or observing african Dwarf Frogs over a certain period of time ( CTNF ).

Australian Tree Frogs 

To tell a male australian Tree Frog ( besides known as White ’ s Tree Frogs or dumpy tree frogs ) from a female, you ’ ll need to have a stopping point expect at two classifiable features :

  • The vocal sac on the male will present as dark and larger generally due to frequent calling, especially during mating season.
  • The appendages (toes) on the male’s forearms will have pads on the thumbs that darken before mating. 

Generally speaking, female tree frogs of this species are larger than the males but to be surely, look for the traits listed above.

American Bullfrogs 

The iconic american Bullfrog is besides a frog species where the males and females look very alike. The key features used in distinguishing the male Bullfrog from the female Bullfrog are :

  • For females, the external ear covering, or tympanum is about the same size as her eye whereas, for males, their tympanum is generally much larger than their eye.
  • If you can compare the throat color of Bullfrogs, you’ll notice the males have a bright yellow throat and the females have a creamy white throat. 
  • The females of this species are not vocal; most of the vocalization you hear is a male. 

Bullfrogs are a premier example of using the eardrum to distinguish between the genders, and of course, the croaking, grinding, and chirping sounds definitely signify male frogs. 

More About Frog Gender

In summary, even though it can be difficult to tell the sex of a frog, there are clues or characteristics you can look for to tell the difference once you determine the species. And once you know what to look for, you ’ ll have no trouble figuring out who ’ s who ! Check out these other articles on our site that overlay frog reproduction, sex, and intimate orientation in more contingent :


Hayes, Tyrone B et aluminum. ( 2010 ) “ Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male african clawed frogs ( Xenopus laevis ). ” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol. 107,10 : 4612-7. doi:10.1073/pnas.0909519107

Lambert, Max & Tran, Tien & Kilian, Andrzej & Ezaz, Tariq & Skelly, David. ( 2019 ). molecular testify for sex reversal in angry populations of k frogs ( Rana clamitans ). PeerJ. 7. e6449. 10.7717/peerj.6449. National Audubon Society. Field Guide To Reptiles & Amphibians, ( 2008 ), pp : 701 & 704 ; Alfred A. Knopf, 24th printing. New York Government, Frogs