Spring Peepers make their annual appearance

Q: Who’s making that noise?
A: Many tiny frogs known as Spring Peepers

Watch video HERE

This sometimes deafening, bird-like peeping heard in choruses from wetlands in early spring comes from many tiny frogs known as spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer). With their loud voice, small size (about 1 inch), and excellent camouflage, they usually are heard but not seen.

In March, spring peepers make their way from their winter shelters under forest logs and leaves to breeding ponds where the males start to “sing” to attract females. As the male peeps, the thin skin of the frog’s throat bulges out as though he’s blown a great big chewing gum bubble. The bubble amplifies his call, which can be heard up to half a mile away. Males also will call on warm days in autumn. Identifying characteristics are the oversized, sticky round pads on its toes and the dark-colored “X” on its back. Eggs are distributed singly among submersed plants.

There is an old saying about them that goes like this: “If you are smiling when you hear the first peeper, you will smile all spring and summer. If you are frowning when you hear the first peeper, you will frown until autumn.”

#NotesFromOurNaturalists – by Lynn Groves (Kittatinny Valley State Park) and Diane Hewlett-Lowrie, NJ State Park Service.

Footage provided by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife and Diane Hewlett-Lowrie.

Posted by New Jersey State Park, Forests, and Historic Sites

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