I was just sitting down at the computer this morning when I noticed something moving behind the front door. “White-footed mouse,” I thought. But it seemed a little small for a mouse.
It was a frog. My first instinct was to prop the screen door open and herd it outside. But its belly was caked with dust bunnies — it must’ve spend the night under a bookcase — and the dust included a number of long hairs. I soon realized that all four of its webbed feet were tangled in hair, and it was having trouble moving.
I picked it up and tried to pull all the gunk off of it, but it proved to be a delicate operation, so I carried it up to my parents’ house. Dad is very good at this sort of painstaking task.
It took him about five minutes to carefully snip the hairs free with a nail clipper and wash the frog off in a pan of water. I called Mom down to identify the frog, and after poring over the books we decided it was probably a half-grown green frog (though we’re open to other suggestions, too). We only have a small stream, but apparently green frogs are fine with that. They’re habitat generalists. They like to hang out under logs near streams, apparently, so it could be that this frog found the crack under my door inviting.
The Wikipedia article on the green frog calls it “primarily nocturnal,” but adds that it “is not as wary as many other species of frog. Fleet of foot and difficult to spot, this frog is often noted only indirectly as it flees into the water.” If our identification is correct, it’s a new species record for the mountain. Who knows how long its kind has been hiding out here? Unless the juveniles really disperse widely, I’d say we have a breeding population.
After Dad got it thoroughly cleaned off, I carried it down below my house and released it beside the stream. It was by this point quite habituated to human hands, however, and didn’t want to leave; I had to poke it with a finger to get it to hop off into the weeds.
Cute as it was, I hope it doesn’t try to return to the house. There are way too many milk snakes and black snakes in the walls to make this a hospitable environment for frogs — to say nothing of the groundhogs, porcupines, raccoons, skunks, and feral cats that have been known to inhabit the crawlspace under the floor. It’s lucky for the frog that it didn’t tangle with anything larger than a dust bunny.