After a very long winter that stretched its icy fingers well into April, I was very relieved last week at sunset to hear the sound of spring peepers.
The first frog of spring, these tiny amphibians are very loud for their size (1-1.5 inches long). If approached in their wetland habitat, their calls are so deafening and resonate, you can feel them like a tickle in your neck and scalp. Even stranger, despite their powerful calls, you rarely see them anywhere. spring peepers are remarkably well camouflaged and at close inspection go silent before you can locate them.
If you are lucky enough to spot one, you will note a light X on their tan backs, which accounts for their species name “crucifer” – which means “cross bearing”. Spring Peepers are well adapted for their habitat with tiny suction pads on their toes to help them cling to plants.
Only the males sing. They are nocturnal and will sing all night, searching for a mate. After mating the females lay their eggs in the water attached to an anchored plant. The tadpoles that hatch out are bigger than the adult frog.