Wild Profile: Meet the spring peeper

Updated: May 27, 2019

By Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock

Who’s the little frog with the loud, loud voice? Spring peepers are one of our tiniest amphibians—smaller than the diameter of a quarter—but their call, a high-pitched, baby chicken-like “peep,” is audible from at least half a kilometre away.

These miniature frogs, small enough to cling to a pencil, are tough to spot—they’re nocturnal. But they’re easy to ID if you do happen to find one. They’re tan or pale brown, with a dark “X” on their backs. Males are also easy to recognize. When they call, male spring peepers inflate a sound-boosting pouch under their jaws by closing their mouths and nostrils, squeezing their lungs, and sending air through their vocal chords. It looks a little like the frogs are blowing bubbles. These balloon-like “vocal sacs” look freaky, but serve a purpose: they have a flexible membrane to help amplify the sound the frogs produce. Say it again louder for the people in the back, peepers!

 

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