Spring Peeper / Rainette crucifère
The Spring Peeper is a typical treefrog being small, with enlarged toe pads and varying in
colour from tan to gray. It is distinguished from other treefrogs by a dark X on the back.
These tiny frogs reach no more than 3 cm.
call of the Spring Peeper is one of the earliest heard in the spring. Each call is a
single, loud, high pitched peep repeated over and over. A full chorus can be deafening up
close and carries over half a kilometre. In large choruses, Peepers also trill, advising
other males to keep their distance.
Other treefrogs which overlap its range are the Boreal
Chorus Frog, Western Chorus Frog,
Gray Treefrogs and the
Blanchard's Cricket Frog. The Chorus Frogs have three
stripes down the back while the Gray Treefrogs have large dark blotches. The Eastern
Cricket Frog, limited only to extreme southern Ontario, has a dark triangle between
the eyes and less distinct markings on the back than the other three species.
The Spring Peeper is widely distributed in eastern North America. In Canada it is found in
Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It can be
found as far south as Florida.
Spring Peepers are found in a wide range of habitats and seem to breed almost anywhere
there is water although they are characteristic of temporary woodland ponds. They reach
their highest density in brushy second growth or cutover woodlands. They apparently cannot
withstand extensive urbanization.
Spring Peepers are one of the earliest frogs to begin calling and continue to call
throughout the spring. One female lays 800- 1000 eggs singly or in small groups and
are therefore rarely seen. Tadpoles hatch in six to twelve days and complete
metamorphosis after about two months.
Although widespread and abundant, and though their call is familiar to many, it takes
great patience and persistence to actually find a Spring Peeper. Peepers hibernate
under logs and loose bark and are freeze tolerant. They are sometimes heard calling
again in the fall but this does not result in breeding activity.
Although this species is stable throughout most of its range, populations in the Toronto
area have disappeared, presumably due to urbanization and habitat modification.