Spring peepers are peeping

800px-Pseudacris_crucifer01Last evening, we took a drive and went poking around Shades State Park.  While visiting, we were amazed at amount of tree damage due to this winter’s ice storms, especially in the area of Pine Hills Nature Preserve.

The park was virtually empty aside from one group picnicking and a creepy guy who was backed into the corner of the main parking area.   Fortunately, we weren’t his type of customer or victim, so he left us alone.

The most interesting thing of note was amphibian party in progress.  We pulled into a small parking area near the entrance to deploy our own picnic basket and, stepping outside, were amazed to hear a deafening chorus of “peep-peep-peep”coming from a bunch of lust-crazed spring peepers in a nearby shallow pool.

Spring peepers are a tiny, virtually unnoticeable frogs that live in forest duff and temporary pools in the forest floor.  During the latter part of March and early April, they gather in water-filled depressions.  There, the males hold a contest to see who can out-shout his neighbor in order to attract the ladies.

The noise made by spring peepers is very similar to a cricket, except crickets don’t make much noise in march and typically don’t gather in such large groups.  When you get a group of peepers together in a puddle, the racket can be quite noticeable, especially since the woods is so otherwise quite.

The Indiana DNR has a very good page on Spring Peepers: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3330.htm

If you are looking for more information, this book by Sherman A. Minton Jr. is considered the authoritative guide to Indiana Amphibians and Reptiles:

Amphibians & Reptiles of Indiana, Revised Second Edition


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