Saturday, April 5, 2008

peeper weather

Rain. Rain. And more rain. Bucketsful. Barrows full. Bathtubs full. The kind of weather only a frog could truly love and the spring peepers were doing just that at Ijams Nature Center. They were lovin' it. Peep. Peep. Peep.

This naturalist got soaked, but he didn't melt.

Peepers are brick reddish, sort of a dried leaf color. They are roughly an inch long, about the size as the end of your thumb, so we are taking SMALL. A male's most famous trait is his "peep," a single high-pitched note repeated every second or so. Peep. Peep. Peep. Most often heard at night, male peepers peep to advertise their locations and attract females. In turn, the females are lured to the male whose vocal quality has just the right tempo. Older peepers peep faster and are more desirable because they are proven survivors, perhaps a sign of genetic superiority.

How many peeps can a mature peeper peep? A single male may peep up to 4,500 peeps a night.

Now, that's up tempo! A lot of peeps from such a little package.


Anonymous said...

The songs of the spring peepers make me so happy! When I hear them singing I know spring is coming. They are more reliable than The Weather Channel. Is a spring peeper the same as a chorus frog, or is that another critter or group entirely?

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

anonymous. Yes, peepers usher in spring. Their song is a happy sound.

Spring peepers and chorus frogs are similar but different. Both are small frogs, about an inch long, and both sing early in the season, often from the same watery pool. Peepers are reddish, chorus frogs are brownish.

BUT seeing them is not that easy. Hearing them is. Their songs are quite different. Peepers peep. Chorus frogs creeeeeaaaaaakkk. As the field guides say, they sound like someone running their fingers over the teeth of a plastic comb.


Anonymous said...

Now I know that I've heard both. It never occurred to me until I read your plastic comb description. Thank you! -Debbie

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

I usually hear the chorus frogs much earlier in the season than the peepers. I first posted on them on February 25 but I have heard them as early as January if the conditions are right.