To many, spring means the arrival of the first daffodils or the sight of the first robin, but to me, spring is here when I hear the spring peepers. These well camouflaged amphibians are rarely seen, but step outside on a cool spring evening and enjoy the chorus of these tiny frogs as they fill the air with what sounds like tiny bells. The peepers are only 1 inch to one and 1.5 inches long, so while they are heard, they are not often seen. But, if you decide to venture out for a look, they are tan or brown in color with a tell-tale X on their back. Large pads on their toes allow them the ability to climb trees, but prefer the dense, damp woodland floor. Their favorite snacks are ants, flies and spiders and they are favorite snacks for snakes, skunks and larger frogs. During the winter, peepers have been spending that time hibernating deep under fallen leaves or under logs in the forest. As the weather warms and the ground heats up, the peepers come out, starting their spring chorus in March and early April.
It is the male which is making all this noise, trying to attract a female by inflating a sac on its throat, which inflates and deflates like a balloon, to create the distinct sound. Once mating season is over, the spring peeper becomes silent, leaving the evening airwaves to crickets and whip-o-wills. With these warm March days we have been having, the peepers should be out very soon, so come outside, the concert is free.