Spring Finally Peeps

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.

Listen to a Spring Peeper Here

Learn to Draw a Spring Peeper

Color a Spring Peeper

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About Sheri Amsel

Sheri Amsel has degrees in Botany and Zoology from the University of Montana 1980, a Master's Degree in Anatomy, Physiology and Biomedical Illustration from Colorado State University 1987. Ms. Amsel interned at the Smithsonian Institute in 1983 in Scientific Illustration, taught anatomy and biology at three colleges from 1990 - 1997. In addition, Ms. Amsel has published more than 15 nonfiction children's books, two field guides for adults, and illustrated a myriad of books and interpretive displays on nature and science topics. Ms. Amsel has done science programming at more than 300 schools nationally, developed more than 20 educational nature trails in New York State, and coordinates school visits to local nature trails for environmental education programs for the Eddy Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation and habitat preservation. Ms. Amsel created the Exploring Nature Educational Resource website with the hopes of sharing her science and environmental education knowledge and experience with science educators and students worldwide.