A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians

Sounds of
Cascades Frog - Rana cascadae

Slater, 1939
Click the speaker icon to listen to an mp3 sound file.


Male frogs and toads sometimes make a variety of sounds. These calls can have different functions.

Advertisement Calls

The advertisement call is the most well-known call of a frog or toad. It is made by a male during the breeding season to establish his territory and repel rival males and to attract females as potential mates. Males usually make the call in or near bodies of water near areas that are attractive to a female as a good place to lay her eggs. Advertisement calls can be heard during the evening and at night, and often during daylight at the peak of the breeding season. Sometimes an advertisement call will be heard outside of the breeding season and away from water. The reason for this is not understood.

Each species has its own unique advertisement call. This is necessary to differentiate them when there is more than one species calling. The evolution of this specific male advertisement call and its recognition by females is considered to be an important isolating mechanism in the evolution of a species.

The advertisement call of Rana cascadae is a quiet series of low grating clucking noises. Calls are produced at night and also during the day from above and under water.


The following sounds were recorded on a sunny afternoon in early July at aprox. 5500 ft. in Pierce County Washington. Snow melt created a shallow pool under some trees next to a large lake and next to a small channel of water flowing into the lake. One egg mass was visible at the edge of the pool, attached to submerged grass. Several male frogs were positioned at the edge of the pool near the egg mass, with their heads just out of the water and facing the shore. One frog called very faintly in the air at isolated intervals (shown below ) When an underwater microphone was placed in the water next to the frog, no sounds were heard. The sounds of running water, the occasional song of an Olive-sided Flycatcher and other birds, and insects can be heard in the background. Pictures of this location are also shown below.

Sounds  This is a 7 second edited recording of three short advertisement calls of one frog.

Sounds  This is 21 seconds of the advertisement calls of one frog.

Sounds  This is 43 seconds of the advertisement calls of one frog.

Sounds  This is 9 seconds of chattering calls resulting from a close encounter of two male frogs.

Sounds  This is 19 seconds of sounds that occured after the encounter of two male frogs.
Cascades Frog Cascades Frog Habitat Cascades Frog Habitat Cascades Frog Habitat
Calling male, Pierce County, Washington Breeding habitat (location of the calls recorded above) Pierce County, Washington Breeding habitat,
Pierce County, Washington

The following sounds were recorded on two sunny afternoons at the end of June and beginning of July at about 3,900 ft in Kittitas County, Washington. The snow-melt pond is shown in the pictures below, along with some of the frogs recorded here. Birds and trickling water are heard in the background.

Sounds  This is a series of three different males calling edited into one 31 second recording. The calls of each frog have also been edited to remove long stretches of silence.

Sounds  This is a 66 second edit of five different encounters between frogs, most likely male frogs. These calls are probably made by a male frog when another male frog comes into his territory, but it was not possible for me to tell the sex of all of the frogs recorded.

Sounds  This is a :22 second recording of an encounter and attempted amplexus of two frogs, probably males.

Cascades Frog Habitat Cascades Frog Cascades Frog Cascades Frog
Breeding habitat (location of the calls recorded above) 3900 ft., Kittitas County, Washington Male frogs in calling position, inbetween calls, Kittitas County, Washington
Cascades Frog Cascades Frog Cascades Frog Cascades Frog
Calling adult males during the breeding period, Kittitas County, Washington
Short Videos of Calling Males
Cascades Frog Cascades Frog Cascades Frog Cascades Frog
A look at a Cascdes Frog breeding pond high in the Cascade Mountains (the location of the second group of recordings heard above), including the pond surrounded by melting snow, male frogs in calling position, two calling males, and two episodes of male frogs attempting to mount other males with encounter sounds.

Several adult male frogs make calling sounds in the Washington Cascade Mountains. An adult male frog floats on the breeding pond, trading calls with two other frogs heard in the background. Male frogs chase each other around in the breeding pond, chattering and clucking.
Waveform and Sonogram
Sounds  This is a recording of the calls of a Cascades Frog recorded during the day in Kittitas County, Washington.
The image above is a visual representation of this call. Click on it to see a larger image.
Click here for information about how to read the waveform and sonogram images.

Release Calls

A release call is produced by a male frog or an unreceptive female frog when a male frog or other animal gets on its back and grabs its sides in the position used for mating or amplexus. It's a frog's way of saying "Get off my back! Let go!"

Sounds  This is a very short recording of the release calls of an adult Cascades Frog recorded during daylight at a mountain lake in Washington state.
         Birds can be heard in the background.

Short video of release call

The bottom frog of this pair in amplexus (probably a female) makes a few release calls as it tries to shake off the male on its back in the water of a breeding pond.
Cascades Frog    

You can listen to more recordings of the Cascades Frog on this cd:

Carlos Davidson - Frog and Toad Calls of the Pacific Coast

cd cover

and on the cd that comes with this book:

Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson - The Frogs and Toads of North America - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

book cover

Home Site Map About Us Identification Lists Maps Photos More Lists CA Snakes CA Lizards CA Turtles CA Salamanders CA Frogs
Contact Us Usage Resources Rattlesnakes Sounds Videos FieldHerping Yard Herps Behavior Herp Fun CA Regulations
Beyond CA All Herps

Return to the Top

 © 2000 -