Little frog, BIG sound!
A noisy pondful of peepers
Spring peepers are something that many people have heard, but few have seen. This is because they are teeny, they only come out at night, and they blend in with the brown pond vegetation lying around from the previous fall. With a pond right in my back yard, I have been lucky enough to get great views of these little noisemakers.
After salamander night (mid to late March) the peepers show up about a week later, as the next event in the spring awakening of the pond. It's a joyful sound! First there is one,
maybe two... the next night a few more, then... pandemonium! This lasts throughout the month of April and into May, when they simmer down and the gray treefrogs take over the job of of making a racket.
If you hear a lot of spring peepers in a pond that's about a quarter of a mile away, they sound like sleighbells in the distance!
Smaller than a cookie, bigger than a dime
I have a song about spring peepers that has this line, so I decided to illustrate it...
The scientific name of this little frog is Hyla crucifer. "Crucifer" refers to the X-shaped mark on its back. The shape of the X can be fairly obvious or it can be quite wiggly and broken, depending on the individual frog.
Here are some X's on the peepers in my pond. You can also see that peepers come in a range of brownish-grayish colors, but they all have two things in common: They are TINY, and they are LOUD !
On warm wet nights, the spring peepers come out of the pond and end up all over the yard, sometimes even climbing up the front door!
Peeping on a daffodil leaf in the front yard
Peeping in the grass near the pond - April 27, 2009
To see the relative size of a peeper and a bullfrog, click on this picture