Spring Peeper
(Pseudacris crucifer)

Description: This small chorus frog is tan or brown with a slightly darker X on its back stamped on its back. Adults range in size from about 1 to 1.5 inches and females tend to be larger than males. Females are also often lighter in color, while males have a dark chin. All individuals have yellowish flash colors on the inside of their thighs and large toepads for climbing. However, they generally stay low to the ground and are most commonly observed calling from grasses where males will extend a large balloon like vocal sack while emitting a high-pitched “peep” call. 

Natural History:  In South Carolina these frogs are most frequently heard and observed on warm rainy nights in the winter and early spring. They will emerge from more upland woody habitats and decend on vegitated depressions for large breeding events. These breeding areas include flooded fields, marshes woodland depressions, semiperminate ponds, and drainage ditches. Usually calling from the ground or low hanging pieces of vegitation, males will engage in loud choruses to attract females.

Throughout the remainder of the year, Spring Peepers will remain hidden underground, but may silently emerge during heavy rains. Adults are known to consume a wide array of small invertibrates, while tadpoles will consume both invertibrates and algae.    

Similar Species: Other Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris sp.) can resemble Spring Peepers in coloration and size, but will lack the “X” pattern on the back. Vocalizations are also very helpful in distinguishing these species, but male Spring Peepers will emit an agressive call in dense breeding areas that can resemble the trill of a Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita).    

Distribution: This frog is found throughout the eastern half of the United States into Southeastern Canada. It is not found in southern Florida. 

Contributed by Jake Zadik (1/27/21)