Spring peeper

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More names for this animal

Anishinaabemowin: Omagakii or omakakii (frog)

Dakota: Hnaṡka (frog)

The Dakota and Anishinaabe were among the earliest people to name Minnesota’s plants and animals, as well as to understand them in relation to Minnesota’s climate and seasons. Those original names are still in use, and several are included on the Season Watch website.

Latin (or scientific name): Pseudacris crucifer

The scientific community has a convention of assigning agreed-upon Latin names to every kind of organism. Using scientific names helps people communicate confidently about the same organism and organize lifeforms based on how closely related they are.

The spring peeper is small, brown, and sitting in shallow water. Directly next to it is a snail shell which is not much smaller than the frog.
Spring peeper in shallow water.
May 10, 2022, St. Louis County, Minnesota
Photo © Adam Heikkila, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)
iNaturalist observation

About the spring peeper

  • The spring peeper is a small frog about ¾ to 1½ inches long that lives about three years. It is tan in color and often has a darker X-shaped marking on its back. 
  • Because they are small and nocturnal, peepers are more likely to be heard than seen. 
  • During breeding, male spring peepers make short, high-pitched sounds, similar to the peeping of a chick. The beginning of their peeping is often an indicator that spring has arrived. 
  • Throughout the rest of summer, spring peepers live in brushy undergrowth. 
  • These frogs are adapted to withstand their bodies partially freezing during winter while they stay inactive under logs or in trees.
  • Spring peepers are found in the northern and eastern parts of Minnesota.

Visual guide to phenology

Watch for spring peepers' presence (or absence), abundance, and behaviors at different times of year. Also, pay attention to when young-of-year appear and develop.

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Note to observers

This page explains general clues to watch and listen for when observing spring peeper phenology. However, this page does not explain how to identify this animal or collect data in a standardized way.

Photo shows typical habitat for spring peepers, a wetland or pond, often one that dries up between spring and summer. Blue sky is reflected in the water. Trees are bare of leaves. Grassy vegetation in the scene is from last year and no green leaves are visible yet.
Spring peeper with its vocal sac expanded and full of air. The vocal sac is located under the frog's jaw. This frog is resting on decaying vegetation.
Pair of mating spring peepers, the smaller male is on top of the larger female frog and both are in shallow water.
This developing spring peeper has legs and a tail remaining from its tadpole stage. It is in shallow water with decaying vegetation.
Pale brown spring peeper against a bright green leaf. Dark markings on its back include x-shaped splotchy lines, a clue observers use to identify spring peepers.
The spring peeper's body is a warm tan color. The frog is sitting on a decaying log with moss in an autumn scene.

Audio resources

This recording is predominantly sounds made by spring peepers.

Audio file
May 14, 2021, Lake County, Minnesota
Recording © Norma Malinowski, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)
iNaturalist observation


Ambient recording with spring peepers and wood frogs. Peepers make the higher-pitched sounds.

Audio file
April 17, 2021, St. Louis County, Minnesota
Recording © David, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-SA)
iNaturalist observation


Ambient recording with large number of spring peepers, as well as wood frogs.

Audio file
Recorded April 12, 2021, Lake County, Minnesota
Recording © Joe Walewski, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)
iNaturalist observation

Graphs and historical data

Note: The Orientation Center provides a map, as well as information on reading graphs; interpreting summary statistics, who collected the data and how; and how to download datasets for independent exploration.

Hubbard County

First heard

  • Earliest: April 2 (occurred in 2012)
  • Average: April 18
  • Latest: May 6 (occurred in 2013)
Scatterplot showing spring peeper phenology observations in Hubbard County, Minnesota

Download this dataset (.csv file)

Itasca County

First heard

  • Earliest: April 4 (occurred in 2012)
  • Average: April 18
  • Latest: May 5 and 6 (occured in 2008 and 2013)
Scatterplot showing spring peeper phenology observations in Itasca County, Minnesota

Download this dataset (.csv file)