One of the smallest vertebrates in North America is the cricket frog. Only one of the two species lives in Texas: the northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans). Adults grow to about the size of a thumbprint, give or take, and they are highly variable in colors and patterns (polymorphism).
I have to admit they can be difficult to photograph despite being active all year (even in winter). Their size alone helps them vanish beneath the smallest things, like blades of grass or a fallen leaf. Thankfully they’re numerous—very numerous—and they hang out in all the places where I tend to walk. Actually, they hang out pretty much everywhere, something that makes them rather cosmopolitan among amphibians.
They’re quite the leapers, too. They can jump up to six feet/two meters, which is pretty doggone impressive for their size. Though the motion can help me find them if I don’t already know they’re in the area, it also means they can vanish in the blink of an eye if they leap into thick foliage or tall grass.
I find many who look like paint has splattered on them, various splotches of green, black, gray, red or myriad other colors scattered along their head and back. But do you notice a certain shape on its head?
There’s a different angle. It’s a heart. I see a lot of them with that neat little mark, though not all of them, and it ranges in color and brightness. (Technically it’s a triangle, not a heart, but where’s the fun in calling it a triangle?)
The light stripe running from the eye to the front leg is also a good indicator, but like the rest of their traits, not all of them have it.
Considering how common they are here, seeing them is never a problem. Recognizing them is quite another thing. Their size makes them seem like juveniles of several different species, the unending array of colors and patterns can be confusing, and their bumpy skin always make them look like young toads instead of frogs.