My oldest son Taylor has had a pet frog for almost 3 years. It's one of those Grow A Frog's that you get through the mail as a tadpole and watch it metamorphosis (what a strange word) into a frog. The unique things about these types of frogs (African Clawed Frog) are that they have no tongue, they use their front arms to push their food into their mouths, and as pets they are kept in an aquarium. Taylor's particular frog, which he named Floppy, was a boy. And you may be asking how we know this? His frog makes a very loud cricket sounding noise - and usually at night when we're trying to sleep and sometimes during the day. The male frogs use this as their mating call. Another interesting fact about these frogs is that they shed their skin quite frequently and it must taste good because they eat it. Nasty, huh? The frog has been a really cool pet and is fairly easy to take care of.
Last November we had a party at our house. We were in and out of the house and had a campfire going in the backyard. Taylor had some of his friends over. Well, the night was one full of good times, good conversation, and a good share of drinks. In the morning, I got up to check on the boys who were still sleeping and to use the bathroom. The frog is kept in the bathroom overnight due to it's loud I-need-some-frog-lovin' noise it makes. I glanced at the cage and see that the frog is not in there. Immediately (in midstream) I lift my feet off the floor thinking it was going to come out from nowhere and hop on me. I like frogs probably more than the average female, but the thought of one being loose in my house gave me the heebie-jeebies. I woke Taylor up to see if he had put it somewhere else. He had "no idea" where it was or how it might have gotten out of its cage. So here I am tiptoeing around my house looking for a lost frog and in a sense hoping I find it to ease my mind but also freaking out that if I do find it what will it do, will it be alive, could someone have stepped on it last night, is it ground into my carpet? Seriously, all these thoughts were going through my head. I still shiver today thinking about this. At this point I figure I should let the dog out before she finds it and decides to eat it for breakfast or did she have a midnight snack already? As I walk to the back door I look down and see what I thought was a pile of poop. It looks like we neglected to let the dog out last night with all our partying. I get a paper towel to clean up the pile, which wasn't very big for our 50 pound boxer-pit mix. I prepare to scoop up the "poop" and it moves. (Insert very loud high pitch school girl scream here). The freakin' pile of poop turned into a frog. Whew - I knew I had a bit to drink last night, but I never saw anything like that before. I snapped back to reality and knew I had to get that poor frog back in the water before he croaked (sorry couldn't help it! - you knew it was coming!). The last thing I wanted to do was touch a pissed off frog, so I got a small net, somehow got him in it, and rushed him back to his water. We had no idea how he escaped, how long he had been out of the water, or if he would be able to survive. He was full of dirt and dog hair and from where his cage was to where I found him was a good 50 to 75 feet away. This was one super frog. He defied the odds and survived - surprisingly.
His other brushes with death have included various items being dropped into his cage by curious little brothers. I have scooped out pounds of soggy tissue, loose change, bath toys, a toothbrush (yes, I threw it away), air freshener sprayed on and around his cage, a complete container of frog food (numerous times) where the water was so cloudy you couldn't see if anything was even in the cage and the smell - ugh - horrendous! Needless to say, this frog has been through many ordeals and probably wishes he was shipped to a house without little boys.
The latest episode of who-can-try-and-kill-the-frog was done by my very intrigued Luke. Now he's only 3 and he doesn't realize the consequences of his actions. Apparently, he was upstairs brushing his teeth on his own in the bathroom where Floppy has found his permanent home. (Floppy's smell tends to go well with the bathroom setting.) Luke is a bit messy with his toothpaste and I always end up having to clean the sticky mess off the counter. This time, Luke decided the frog needed to brush it's teeth. So, what does he do? He squirts watermelon flavored fluoride toothpaste directly into the frogs' cage. Just a side note - frogs don't have teeth! I guess I should have explained that one to Luke. Later that day Carson notices the toothpaste in the cage and comes to get me. We rush up to the bathroom and notice that the frog isn't moving very much. Immediately, I fill up the bathtub with some shallow water, add a few purifying water crystals and transfer the frog (okay, Taylor actually did the physical transfer) to the tub in hopes that we can rinse the film of paste off the frogs body. Floppy was traumatized - his body was in shock. It was not looking good for this frog. I emailed the Grow a Frog team and didn't expect anyone to get back to me since this all transpired on Labor Day. Wouldn't you know it, they got back to me immediately and said we did the right thing. If he could pull through within the next few hours he might just be okay. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse and he was not moving. It looks like the toothpaste took its final toll on poor Floppy.
Taylor was devastated. I was a bit sad as well. We held a funeral service in our backyard and buried our froggy friend. That night it was very hard to eat dinner - we had fish. And the consistency of the cheesy broccoli was a bit soggy and hard to swallow.
The next day, Taylor asked if we could visit the pet store. I was wondering if he wanted to get another frog so soon, but he said he didn't want another frog. Floppy would be his only frog friend. At the store we saw and fell in love with the cutest little hamsters called Dwarf Hamsters. Taylor decided that these were the new pets he wanted to have and we adopted two of them. Did you notice my Wordless Wednesday post yesterday? That was above the hamster cage. Maybe it was a sign that I should have taken as a warning. Let it be our luck that these two end up having babies. I have no idea what their sexes are, but I'll keep you posted.
The hamsters are being kept in their cage in Taylor's room with his door locked during the day. This way they will be safe from the inquisitive hands of Luke (and Carson). Luke gets a kick out of watching them and calls them bunnies or pets. Now we just need names for the misfits. Any ideas? I like Max and Ruby which goes along with Luke's idea that they're bunnies. Leave me a comment with your name suggestions.