Elms Environmental Education Center

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March 2016: Spring Peeper

 Photo: USGS

Northern Spring Peeper

Pseudacris crucifer

Who am I?

 I am a small frog, a tree frog, though I really don't like to climb trees. You will usually find me near the ground. I am usually about an inch long, about the size of a paper clip, with a distinctive "x" marking on my back. Like most amphibians, my color will depend on where I live -- I like to blend in. My mom will lay individual eggs in quiet water sometime in late March and I will hatch out about 10 days later. After 2-3 months as a tadpole I will change, metamorphose, into a frog. In winter I will hibernate in the ground or under logs. i am a nocturnal animal which means i am out and about at night, hunting mostly During the day I will sleep under leaves and logs.

Where can you find me?

 We are native to the easy coast of North America, south to Georgia. Our cousins, the southern spring peeper, live in Georgia and Florida. We are hard to find but we live in just about any type of standing water, from vernal pools, to ditches to ponds. You will hear us in early spring while driving at night with the window open.

What do I eat?

 All kinds of small insects including beetles, ants, bugs and spiders.

What might eat me?

 Because I am so small (it is never a good thing to be the size of some predator's mouth) I must watch out for all kinds of predators. These include skunks, raccoon, birds, turtles, other frogs, snakes, fish, predacious water beetles and spiders.

Cool reasons why I am the critter of the month!

  • Most of my body can be frozen solid in the winter and I will thaw out happily in the spring.
  • Some people call me "Pinkletinks"
  • Only males call at night and the female chooses her mate by how fast the male can peep.
  • When lots of us are calling at the same time it sounds like "jingle bells". With so many of us calling it is hard for predators to isolate any one of us.

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