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Spring Peeper

(Pseudacris crucifer )

Northern Spring Peeper

 

Identification:

The Spring Peeper is a small (to 1 1/2 inches) tan to brownish chorus frog with small, barely-expanded toe tips and an irregular X-shaped mark on the back. The distinctive high-pitched call can be heard across Kentucky from mid-February through early summer at just about any pond or wetland close to a wooded area. In eastern and central Kentucky the local folks know that spring has finally arrived when they hear their first choruses of Spring Peepers. Early in the breeding season calling may continue both day and night but by April they tend to call only in the evening. 

Pairs of Spring Peepers in amplexus (the correct term for frog mating) sometimes can be seen at the edge of a woodland pond in the spring but the eggs are rarely found. With her male cling to her back, the female slips underwater to deposit her eggs, attaching each egg singly to a submerged plant stem. The most reliable way to observe the eggs is to capture several males and females, keep them outside in a large container of pond water and vegetation overnight, and hope for the best come morning.

Like other chorus frogs, Spring Peepers spend most of their time on the ground where their colors blend almost perfectly with the leaf litter on the forest floor. Peepers will often call from forested slopes on warm, humid days in the fall and even during periods of mild mid-winter weather. In Kentucky, Spring Peepers can be found statewide. 

The call of the Spring Peeper is a loud, clear, piercing preep, very pleasant when heard in the distance but almost ear-splitting in close quarters.