The Northern Cricket Frog is the topic of today’s Frog Friday. The Northern Cricket frog is one of the smallest frogs in Virginia ranging in size from ½ to 1-½ inches in length. The color pattern is highly variable with this species, but there is generally a “Y” shaped pattern on its back. This pattern may be bright green, russet, yellow, or shades of brown or gray. The hind leg is relatively short when extend and has a ragged-edged stripe on its thigh. The toes are without toe pads and only the first and second toes have extensive webbing.
The Northern Cricket Frog is found primarily in the Piedmont of Virginia, but it can be found along rivers in the Coastal Plain or locally in major valleys of the Mountain. You can typically find these frogs in the grassy, shallow margins along ponds, streams, or ditches.
Breeding occurs from April through August in a variety of grassy, shallow water habitats. The call is a short “gick, gick, gick” like two marbles being clicked together. The call starts slow and then becomes more rapid. The Latin name of the frog “crepitans” means hand rattle and refers to the short and repeated “glick” of the call. When numbers of these frogs are calling along the edge of ponds, they can easily be confused with a chorus of insects.
The Northern Cricket Frog has a spectacular jumping ability and is able to propel itself up to three feet in one jump when trying to avoid predators. For a frog only one inch in length, three feet is truly exceptional.
Photo by John White.
This article is presented as part of our year-long Virginia is for Frogs campaign. Please visit the campaign webpage to learn more about Virginia’s 27 frog species and ways that you can become involved in their conservation. Are you an educator? Check out the Virginia is for Frogs Teacher’s Corner for frog-related lesson plans and activities.