Frogs scared to go into water?

I have a natural clay pond in my backyard and for some reason the green frogs are scared to go into the water. If they jump in they hop on the water or swim as fast as they can back to the shore. Because they are scared of the water it makes me wonder if they will lay eggs this year. The bullfrogs don’t care and will float in the middle, and the baby green frogs that are starting to metamorphose right now are not scared either, only the adult green frogs are for some reason. I don’t know what scares them, but there are three baby snapping turtles in the pond along with a few goldfish that hitchhiked on plants from last year. What can be the reason for why they don’t like the water anymore?

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This is really interesting! I don’t know a ton about amphibians (and even less about their behavior) but maybe it’s a behavioral response to limit adult and infant interactions and possibly infanticide? Or more likely fear of predators? I wouldn’t put it past bull frogs to eat green frogs. Maybe they know it is frequented by bull frogs through olfactory signals and can smell that after jumping in and pull the age-old “I regret everything” and bail? I’m not sure this is so funny!


The bullfrogs are only big enough to eat the smallest green frogs and I keep them fat by throwing them worms so I don’t think they’re scared of them. The olfactory signals could be a reason, but not from the bullfrogs, as they did this before they arrived. I think it could actually be the snapping turtles because they started to do it when the turtles came last year. I don’t know what it is but it is still interesting to see how behaviors change as time goes on

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I see this on occasion while doing amphibian surveys, particularly in smaller bodies of water such as ephemeral pools. I have noticed that it most often happens when there is little to no cover for the frogs to hide in once they get into the water such as fallen leaves, aquatic plants or woody debris. I have also seen this when the waterbody has fish in it. They often hop away from the water or hop into the water and quickly exit back on to the bank. Most of the areas I survey do not have many bullfrogs, so I see this most often with green frogs as well. I would suggest adding something into the pond that they can hide in and see if that has any effect on their behavior…


There’s plenty of cover from floating plants and dead reeds I throw in there. Actually I caught a 4 or 5 inch long snapping turtle a few days ago and now the frogs are starting to go back in. The other snappers were the size of a quarter when I saw them last year and they might have left or got eaten by the bigger one. Some frogs still get scared and jump away but most of them are starting to go in again which is good


Animals are individuals not species. What makes one animal comfortable could scare the bageezes out of another. Three snappers? That would make me nervous!

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