November 19, 2013

Spring Peeper

This time of year is full of so many changes. The darkness of the night falls upon us much earlier. The trees are becoming more and more barren. The air is filled with a chill. Squirrels are feverishly gathering food for the winter. Other animals are preparing themselves for a long winter nap. For me there is one creature that stands out from all the others. It's the Spring Peeper. Have you heard of him before? A Spring Peeper is the tiniest of frogs. Would you believe me if I told you this frog
 almost completely freezes in the winter?
I learned of this amazing creature while spending my first Spring living in PA. I remember hearing a chorus like I've never heard before. It was so unique and very high pitched. Our property is surrounded by swamp land leading to a pond. I noticed as I got closer to the pond the noise would get louder. I was told they were just frogs, of course I couldn't believe that they were just any frog. I wanted to see them for myself. So I searched and searched but never could find one. Then I found an article in the paper about the Spring Peeper. They're a very common sound in PA during the Spring and they are very rarely seen. This is because they are so tiny measuring no more than an inch. Not to mention they blend in perfectly with their surroundings and they stay hidden during the day being most active at night.
One evening in the Fall, long after the sound of the Spring Peeper disappeared, I was playing in the yard with my dogs. Princeton soon lost interest in playing and decided to hunt something down. I don't know how he does it but if there is even the hint of movement he's aware of it. Soon I found him pouncing up and down after something, it's really funny when he does this. Blanca and I were curious about what he found so we walked over and discovered he was trying to catch the tiniest of frogs I've ever seen. I immediately  squealed with delight. I was seeing a Spring Peeper at last. I knew because of the faint X on his back. The Latin name for this frog is, Pseudacris crucifer, because "crucifer" in Latin means
 “cross bearing.”
Oh he was such a beautiful little frog. He was so sticky too. 
It was amazing to watch him climb and hang on vertical surfaces. 
I feel so blessed to have enjoyed such an amazing little creature. 
And now as the weather starts to get colder I'm reminded of these little frogs and how they will hibernate. Apparently up to 70% of their bodily fluid freezes and they survive the entire winter freezing and thawing out with temperature fluctuations. Isn't that Amazing! 

1 comment:

  1. Nature is amazing as is your account of this little creature. Thanks for sharing the information.


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