Recognized Subspecies in VA: None
Size: .75 - 1.25 inches
Status: Least Concern
In the fall and late winter, you can hear a loud, chiming "PEEP" that echos through the forest in Virginia. These are the calls of the male Spring Peeper. These tiny treefrogs live in the leaf litter, and are not often seen until the first warm, wet nights of the year. Then they migrate to vernal pools and start calling for mates. This is when they can be found by road cruising or by following their calls until you find the holding male.
The spring peeper is small, peachy to brown, and has several wavering lines on its dorsal (often forming an "X" in the center of the back). Sometimes, when males get really intense into breeding, they turn a dark chocolate color, and their eyes turn red due to raging hormones. I have only seen males in this state a couple of times, but they have always been calling when I do. The males in general often seem to be duller in breeding, with females (and some males) retaining their more attractive, peachy colors.
Similar Species: The Spring Peeper is rather unique for our local Chorus Frogs, but may be confused for these species or the Cricket Frogs. They also appear similar to the Pine Woods Treefrog, which has streaky blotches on the back and yellow dots on the inner thighs, and the Squirrel Treefrog, which can be green and has smaller blotches if any pattern at all.
Call is normally a loud, subtle, yet constant "Peep". Sometimes they make an ascending "P-e-e-e-e-e-e-E".
Maps and External Sources
Herping Virginia encourages all naturalists to practice ethical, safe, and sustainable herping. The use of proper herping methods and techniques is beneficial to both wildlife and herpers. Visit the links below for more information.