Female Frogs Fake Their Own Deaths To Avoid “Sexy Time” With Their Partners, Study Shows

Frogs mating
Radek Homola

This study is certainly a conversation starter.

Or, at the very least, a conversation ender, because I’m not sure if bringing up frog sex, and frog sex avoidance, is the best way to keep the conversation going at the dinner table.

The Natural History Museum of Berlin conducted a study and found that it is very common for female frogs to fake their own deaths to avoid having intimate time with their partners.

Hey, stop looking over at your significant other and keep reading…

Why was this a study, and who decided to study it? Those are great questions, and though I don’t have the answers to them, I do have the results of the “frogs getting their freak on” research that was conducted by actual doctors and scientists.

The author of the study, Dr. Carolin Dittrich, had this to say about why they were looking into the potential avoidance of advances by female frogs:

“It was previously thought that females were unable to choose or defend themselves against this male coercion.

Females in these dense breeding aggregations are not passive as previously thought.”

It turns out that female frogs have a couple of tricks up their sleeve when it comes to getting out of intimate time, and no it isn’t saying that they “have a headache” or that “they are just tired and had a long day.”

Royal Society Open Science published the findings of the study, which revealed that of the 54 females that were observed in the research, 33% of them utilized something called “tonic immobility,” which in layman’s terms means they played dead.

Usually “playing possum” is used out in the wild to avoid predators, but these female frogs are so fed up with male frogs that they’ve somehow found out (and probably communicated amongst their female frog friends) that playing dead works to get out of…you know.

Some of the female frogs tried out three escape tactics at once, which was a combination of body rotations (83% of the frogs tried this) vocal release calls and grunts (48% of the frogs tried this), and the “tonic immobility” method.

The study concluded that 25 of the 54 female frogs that were observed ended up successfully avoiding the male frog’s advances.

Researchers apparently believe that more studies should take place in the future to confirm some of their findings, but can’t we all agree that one frog sex study is enough?

And fun fact, dragonflies do the same thing:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock