Follow that toad

thToday I’d like to share a story before it slips away. A few weeks back, before my washing machine got zapped and knocked out of commission, I was taking care of laundry in the basement and there discovered a meadow jumping mouse trapped in the window well along the stairs. There were also a small toad and frog trapped with the mouse. The amphibians I planned to rescue by hand. I went to the yard for a long stick and put it in there so the mouse could get out.

In case you’ve never heard of these adorable little creatures, essentially balls of fur with whiskers and a tail, they’re somewhat rare. Most native grasslands have been converted to agriculture in my state, but as I am surrounded by prairie, there’s still habitat for these nocturnal mice. They get their name from the fact they hop.  Some people call them kangaroo mice.

I sat on the stairs waiting on this little guy to find the stick and escape. Being a jumping mouse he jumped– boing boing boing. He jumped in the corners, boing boing, he jumped at the window glass, boing boing boing. He jumped all around the stick. boing boing. At one point he jumped on the stick and off again. boing boing boing. This activity was only broken by the occasional nibble on the millipedes trapped in there with him.

My son was here that day and asked me what I was doing. When I explained, he came and sat beside me. The leopard frog watched the frenzy with his head poking out from under a leaf. The toad did too. And the whole while the mouse jumped up and down ineffectually. boing boing boing. It was looking like I’d have to find gloves and take him out of there by hand.

thSuddenly, the little inch-long toad starts walking. I laughed and told my son the toad had had enough of the mouse and was going to climb out to get away from the insanity. I was joking. In all the years we’ve been here, with all the critters trapped in the window wells in that time, I have never seen anything but mice, chipmunks, squirrels, snakes, and possums use sticks for their exit. Everything else must be rescued by hand.

Unbelievably, the toad walks over to the stick and starts to climb! And the mouse wentfrog boing boing boing. So this tiny toad on this monumental climb hauls himself to freedom while the mouse bounced off the glass and sidewalls. boing boing boing. A minute or so later, the leopard frog leaves his leaf behind and hops over to the stick.

My son said, No way! and commented on the simple amphibian brain versus the evolved mammalian brain. Like I said, never, not once in nearly 30 years living here, did we ever see an amphibian leave the window well via a stick. Well the leopard frog did. Following the toad’s lead, he climbed up the stick and rested half-way. In the meantime the mouse did his thing. boing boing boing.

Minutes passed watching this unbelievable theater. One determined toad. One fed-up frog. And one lunatic mouse who nibbled millipedes and went boing boing boing against the glass. Then the mouse had a moment of clarity. He boinged his way over to the stick and went up where he bounced off the frog blocking his way. It sent him back to the bottom where his hopping continued. boing boing boing. It was exhausting just to watch him! A few minutes later, he tried again, and again boinked off the frog in the way. boing boing boing.

Having enough of this whole scenario and obviously fed up with all the rude mouse-shoving, the frog began his ascent. The mouse, on the other hand, continued his poor showing on behalf of mammals everywhere. boing boing boing. In the midst of all his jumping, the mouse apparently saw the way was now frog-free. He climbed back up the stick. At the top he had a moment of whoa where he almost fell inside the window well again. I’m happy to say he got out.

My son and I had a very entertaining 20 minutes of the wild kingdom on a small scale. Later we both lamented not capturing the whole scene and loading it to youtube.  I’ve decided this adventure shall be one of my upcoming children’s books.  😀

Tomorrow~ Fun Day Sunday!



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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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14 Responses to Follow that toad

  1. Jane Leopold Quinn says:

    Hilarious, Rose. It’s a lot of fun to watch animals operate.

  2. J.D. Faver says:

    I loved this, Rose. You may not know this about me, but I am worshiped as a goddess by lizards and frogs around here. Mostly because i have saved so many from the jaws of death (Minx, my Rat Terrier/Chihuahua mix) She is fierce. ❤

  3. I probably would have screamed if I saw those creatures in my house–but we did get field mice occasionally since we lived by the woods for many years.

  4. treknray says:

    I wish you had been able to make a video. It is such a fun story.

  5. skmarshall2014 says:

    What a cute story, Rose. I’m a huge lover of all creatures.

  6. rosgemmell says:

    What a great story, Rose – definitely would make a lovely children’s book!

  7. mikey2ct says:

    What a great story it will make, Rose!

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