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The Spring Peeper Frog
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The spring peeper is a small treefrog that makes high-pitched peeping sounds and can be heard just after the spring thaw -- hence this frog's name. The peeper has a vocal sac under its chin. To make the peeping sound, the frog fills the sac with air (like a balloon), and then pushes the air out, producing two peeping sounds (one sound when the air goes in and one when the air goes out). Sometimes, a peeper makes sounds while sitting in holes or crevices in the soil; the hole acts like a megaphone, making the sound even louder.

Anatomy: The spring peeper is brown to tan colored and has a dark "X" mark on its back, a dark bar between its eyes, and other dark markings. It can change its colors slightly depending upon the surroundings and conditions. The belly is light colored. This coin-sized frog is from 2-3.7 cm (0.8-1.5 inches) long. Like all treefrogs, peepers have sticky round toepads that are used to climb trees and other plants.

Life cycle: Like all amphibians, spring peeper frogs spend their lives near water because they must return to the water to lay their eggs. Hundreds of tiny peeper eggs are laid in the water, attached to a stick. When they hatch into tadpoles, they breathe with gills and swim using a tail. Peeper tadpoles are bigger than the adult peepers. As they mature, they lose their tail, and they develop lungs for breathing air. During the winter, peepers go into a type of partly-frozen hibernation, and they re-emerge when the weather warms.

Habitat and Range: This little frog is found in ponds, marshes, swamps, ditches and wet woodland areas (temperate forests) in eastern North America from Ontario to New England to Texas.

Diet: Peepers eat small insects, spiders, and worms, catching them with their long, sticky tongue.

Classification: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Chordata, Class Amphibia (amphibians), Order Anura (Frogs and toads), Family Hylidae (treefrogs), Genus Pseudacris, Species P. crucifer .

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