Will Two Male Toads Fight Over a Female?

"I'm an American toad. You won't catch me fighting over a lady."
"I'm an American toad. You won't catch me fighting over a lady." (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The world of toads is a big one, with seemingly countless different species. All of these amphibians share certain things in common, but they also have a lot of key behavioral differences, too. Some male toads fight over access to females for mating, and others simply do not, plain and simple.

Fighting Motives

Some male toads do indeed get aggressive when it comes to females. They often get truculent regarding individual breeding turf, as well. It's common for male toads to warn intruding males to back off beforehand. If another male encroaches onto a toad's territory, the defender might react immediately by making a deep calling sound. These low vocalizations might serve as a means of expressing, "Go away, or else. This area is mine, and I will do whatever is necessary to protect it."

Some Male Toads Fight Over Females, Others Don't

Certain species of male toads might not hesitate to battle it out over female attention, but American toads (Bufo americanus) aren't in this category. Not only do they not usually get violent over mating partners, they don't usually behave in turf-oriented manners in the first place. Male American toads tend to depend solely on their calling skills for luring in females, rather than on aggression. On the other hand, violent fights over females are commonplace in the realm of common toads (Bufo bufo).

Fighting Style

When male toads fight over females, they usually do so by engaging in classic extended wrestling sessions, with a little boxing and tugging on each other. Male toads fight each other one-on-one, but it also is common for a handful of them to battle it out, too -- often by trying to lug females away from the clutches of other males.

"Let Me Go"

In initiating the act of mating, male toads typically grasp onto available females. Male toads sometimes, by pure accident, grasp onto other males. When this occurs, the trapped toads generally respond by croaking until they are finally freed. This behavior is often accompanied by a lot of kicking, which might give off the confusing impression of battling over female access.

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