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Discover Nature: Spring Peepers

A greenish-tan-yellow spring peeper frog in profile sits in shallow water with inflated vocal sac protruding from lower jaw.
Jim Rathert
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.

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

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 metamorphosize 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. 

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