In a lighter vein: I finally found out what the frogs making that intriguing noise at night are!

Green Frogs, Rana clamitans. (I know, creative name.) The male’s call is described as “the pluck of a loose banjo string.”

A banjo string is certainly a lot less embarrassing to ask someone about than having to say “Hey, do you know what those frogs that go “bonk” are?”

I was not able, alas, to find recordings online to link to, but if you know of one, please share! Duh! It was right in front of me–thanks to DavidP for finding that.

A green frog pales in comparison, though, to the psychedelic purple frog from Surinam recently discovered.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. My pond amphibians sound more like castanets. I’ve yet to figure out what kind of frogs they are! Or, if they even are frogs. There’s also some brown bumpy probably-toads bouncing around the yard at times, or maybe they’re the same … they’re too shy to do much of a morphological study. Not that I’m sure on the distinguishing characteristics; like the Little Brown Birds and Little Black Beetles and Goddamn Yellow Composite flowers, some organisms do not quickly yield identification.

  2. The page you link to has the sound too

    In South-East Australia, where I live, we have a ‘banjo frog’ or pobble-bonk that does a nice banjo twang. In the recording on , Frogs of Australia I think the rapid high pitch clicking is another species – we get it a lot near my mother in law’s home with a small creek, but don’t get pobblebonks

  3. Oops, didn’t get the the first link right. The first sentence has the link to your green frog’s name. “Frogs of Australia” is the link to a page with our pobblebonk’s sound.

  4. Hmmm. Looks like it was a Firefox/firewall thing on my computer that made me miss that.

    THANKS!! :D

  5. Dean Morrison June 10, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Er … in England ‘Banjo String can have rather rude connotations..

  6. Aw shucks BG, you should have asked me! I can identify some common herp species around these parts…

    To commenter #1, your castanet froggies are maybe chorus frogs (though I always thought they sounded a little like when you slowly drag your thumbnail down a plastic comb). I’d have to hear them for sure, though!

  7. singing sensation January 21, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    I just got a frog but I dont know what kind it is could you help? It is a frog that is a murky green whith black stripes down it’s back. It’s a girl I know that because of her thumbs and her stomach is realy big and sweling so I dont know if she pregnate or not could you help me?

  8. Well, I’d need to know where in the world you were, for a starter, and then a photo would help.

  9. oksandra culpepper April 3, 2008 at 11:10 am

    frogs are awesom

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