Overjoyed frog gives unicorn chaser a run for its money

Photographer Joel Sartore has been shooting nature for 20 years—long enough to amass a great collection of images you can check out at the New York Times.

“The whole point of this project is to really be able to look these creatures in the eye and get to know them,” he said. The animals are beautiful in their variation, their proximity yielding expressions most humans would interpret in emotional terms — anger, humor, pride.

For instance, I interpret this photo as a frog that has just won the Publisher's Clearinghouse.

Ironically, that's probably not actually an expression of happiness. In the Times article, Sartore says the species is known for its vicious reaction to potential predators.

See the full slideshow at the New York Times

Visit Joel Sartore's website

Thanks, Tim Heffernan!


  1. Happy happy joy joy!!

    The NYT gallery is interesting. The photos of animal faces seemed at first to me like attempts to make animals seem human–the whole anthropomorphism problem. 

    But there’s something about these photos that doesn’t do that. Instead, they remind me that human animals aren’t so different from other animals. The latter have different personalities, just like people do, and a careful observer can see that in their faces. They also have intelligence and, no doubt, their own versions of “thoughts.”

    This page does that for me too–


    These careful, humane (ha!) photos makes me think that the whole concept of anthropomorphism is cracked. Those who fling it about often go too far in perceiving a line between “animals” and “people” that isn’t really there.

  2. “I interpret this photo as a frog that has just won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse.”

    Or maybe a frog that just finished giving one of his toad buddies a tongue bath.

        1. Ya, reading those Frog and Toad books as a kid, I always found the art style frightening especially when their giant mouths were open.

  3. Maybe it’s cause I grew up on nature shows but I immediately thought that frog is not overjoyed, he’s either scared or pissed off but he’s trying to intimidate somebody.  It’s a classic move in the natural world:  puff up as much as you can, stand on your tip toes, open your mouth wide, “look out for me, I’m a big huge scary animal!”

  4. Yeah, his face looks happy because of the way his mouth is shaped, but the way his sides are puffed out make think he’s either trying to look big and tough, or gathering in air for an extra-loud croak. 

  5. Damaraland mole rats eh?  Silly of me I suppose to assume that ‘naked’ is the only variety…

    fur or no: horrible, horrible creatures…I thank heavens that they are small and live underground

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