Spring peepers are amazing little creatures. They are only about 1 inch in length, yet the chorus of a pond full of them can be heard over a quarter mile away.
If you have ever tried to find one with a flashlight, you know it is a challenge but well worth the effort. Each little tiny male deflates the air sack in it's throat to make its characteristic high pitched peeping sound. The male is working to attract a female. If you listen very carefully, you can also hear the aggressive, high pitched trill that a male makes to defend its tiny territory from other males.
Photo above taken by Paul Benjunas on March 1, 2017.
To find a peeper, visit a wetland at dusk or after dark. As your ears will tell you, there are lots of them near area roads. Stand quietly near the edge and wait for the sound of a nearby peeper to resume. Once you can hear the sound of an individual peeper, shine your flashlight in the direction of the sound. It can be difficult to find one. They are usually sitting on the dead plants from the previous year or low vegetation. Try hard and you will be rewarded with the amazing sight of these tiny frogs making their sound.
Look at the toes of the peeper in the photo below. Do you see the little round suction cup ending to them? Why do you think they have these?
The peeper is a type of tree frog and the suction cup ends to their toes help them climb blades of grass or other vegetation.
If you keep your eyes and ears open, it is amazing what you can discover!
Share what you notice with a family member, friend or neighbor.
A great resource on peepers and other spring creatures of vernal pools and ponds is A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools by Leo Kenny and Matthew Burne.
The photos with the peeper on a finger were taken by Charlotte Meigs.
Paul Benjunas is a photographer who specializes in reptiles and amphibians. He live in Durham, CT. Photo used with permission.