Photo: A spring peeper frog

Harbinger of spring, calls of male spring peepers fill the evening air to entice females.

Photograph by George Grall

Map

Map: Spring peeper range

Spring Peeper Range

Audio

Fast Facts

Type:
Amphibian
Diet:
Carnivore
Average life span in the wild:
3 years (estimated)
Size:
1 in (2.5 cm)
Weight:
0.11 to 0.18 oz (3 to 5 g)
Group name:
Army
Did you know?
Spring peepers can allow most of their bodies to freeze during winter hibernation and still survive.
Size relative to a paper clip:
Illustration: Spring peeper compared with paper clip

Spring peepers are to the amphibian world what American robins are to the bird world. As their name implies, they begin emitting their familiar sleigh-bell-like chorus right around the beginning of spring.

Found in wooded areas and grassy lowlands near ponds and swamps in the central and eastern parts of Canada and the United States, these tiny, well-camouflaged amphibians are rarely seen. But the mid-March crescendo of nighttime whistles from amorous males is for many a sign that winter is over.

Spring peepers are tan or brown in color with dark lines that form a telltale X on their backs. They grow to about 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) in length, and have large toe pads for climbing, although they are more at home amid the loose debris of the forest floor.

They are nocturnal creatures, hiding from their many predators during the day and emerging at night to feed on such delicacies as beetles, ants, flies, and spiders.

They mate and lay their eggs in water and spend the rest of the year in the forest. In the winter, they hibernate under logs or behind loose bark on trees, waiting for the spring thaw and their chance to sing.

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