June 01, 2023 2 min read

A sure sign that spring has finally arrived is the croaking, ribbiting, clucking, and bellowing of frogs. As soon as the weather gets warmer, frogs get louder. Only male frogs vocalize, however, and the reason is to attract a mate. Frogs also use their vocal abilities to fend off rivals and predators.

But if you’ve also noticed a suspicious snoring sound coming from your garden or nearby pond, you may be wondering if what you’re hearing is a frog. Here’s more on whether frogs can actually snore.

What Is That Snoring Sound?

While humans are responsible for most of the snoring going on in the world, animals can snore too. Many pet parents can attest to this, especially if they’re owners of a bulldog, Persian cat, or other short-snouted companions. And animal studies have also documented cases of snoring and sleep apnea in miniature pigs and overweight animals [2].


But in the wild, snoring is rare in mammals and non-existent in other species. A snoring animal is in danger of attracting predators, so this habit is not likely to have an evolutionary advantage. That means that whatever you’re hearing in your garden is not likely a snore but something else.

As you probably know, frogs can exhibit a wide array of calls. The croak of a frog is its best-known and distinct call. But frogs also chirp, hoot, cluck, bellow, squeak, and grunt depending on what they’re trying to communicate. And some frog species happen to produce a snore-like sound to attract females.

Frog Species That Make “Snoring” Sounds

In North America, there are a number of frog species that produce sounds similar to a human snore. One of the most famous is the Pickerel Frog distributed across the continent and found in a wide range of habitats. Its call sounds like a faint snore heard in the distance [2]. Their calls don’t carry very far, though, so it can be hard to hear them. 


If the snore-like sound you’re hearing is definitely loud, it could be the Northern leopard frog. Found across the United States and Canada, the mating call of this species sounds somewhat like snoring followed by chuckles [3].


The call of the male gopher frog can sound like a guttural snore. You might hear them more during heavy rains, which is when they like to perform their frog “orchestra.”


Outside the Americas, the natal dwarf puddle frog found across Africa is famous for its snoring-like call. Its call, however, is quicker than the typically slow snore of your annoying roommate or bedmate. 


References:

  1. Chopra S, Polotsky VY, Jun JC. Sleep Apnea Research in Animals. Past, Present, and Future.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2016;54(3):299-305.doi:10.1165/rcmb.2015-0218TR

  1. Ellison G. Nature Journal: Pickerel frog makes a snoring sound.Citizen Times. Published Aug 20, 2022.

https://www.citizen-times.com/story/life/2022/08/20/nature-journal-pickerel-frog-reptiles-amphibians-smoky-mountains-snoring-sound/10258676002/


  1. Hoff M. Chirp, Croak, Snore. Department of Natural Resources. Accessed May 2023. 

https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/young_naturalists/young-naturalists-article/frogs-and-toads/frogs-and-toads.pdf



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