Discover Nature: Spring Peeper

Mar 20, 2017

This week, on Discover Nature, take a walk outside, and you may hear one of the first serenades signifying spring on the horizon.

A spring peeper at full croak. Listen for these harbingers of spring as they emerge and congregate near swampy ponds, pools and wetlands in early March.
Credit Missouri Department of Conservation

Spring peepers have spent the winter burrowed under soil, a natural antifreeze in their blood keeping them thawed.

One of the first species to begin calling in the spring, this small, slender frog can appear pink, gray, tan, or brown, with a dark ‘X’ on its back.

Roughly one-inch in length, they breed in fishless ponds, streams and swamps with thick undergrowth.

Males fertilize eggs as females lay them.  Eggs attach to vegetation in shallow water, and hatch in three-to-four days.  Tadpoles metamorphose two months later.

Though common in Missouri, this species needs access to ephemeral, swampy ponds and pools in woodlands, and has become threatened in states where wetland habitat has shrunk.

Learn more about spring peepers and other frogs emerging this spring with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.