Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green (or brown in this case)

We have a fairly large toad population in our community. The kids love them and they can be kind of cute because they are so small (only about 2 1/2 inchs long). I haven't found them to be a nuisance, but others have complained about the toads piling up in the basement window wells.

Since I don't go in the basement much, I hadn't noticed this problem.

I was down there one afternoon and heard a knocking sound. I checked out the furnace - nothing going on there. I checked the airvents to see if they were blowing on two things hitting each other - nada. Then I turned around, and I saw him - there was a toad in the window well. He was jumping at the window. I swear he could see me and was trying to get my attention - "Help meeeeee"

Now, we have an egress window in our basement. This window is about four by four feet. On the outside there is removable grate on the top of the well and a ladder leading to the bottom. There is no way any animal that is able to get in there will be able to climb out.

That statement was proven by the time I actually walked over to the window where this little toad was jumping at the window. Cue the wild west ghost town music and wind noise. There were rabbit bones!!!!!! And some dried up toads!!!!! EWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!

Oh, my gosh! I couldn't let this little guy suffer the same fate, but I didn't want to climb in with all the dead stuff to get him out. I also didn't want him the basement so I wasn't going to just open the window & take off the screen. There is so much stuff all over the place, he could have hopped in an hidden anywhere.

My sister, Sissy, happened to be over and felt just as bad about the toad. We had to do something! If only we could reach the toad from the top. Neither one of us wanted to climb down the ladder into the well. Good thing her brain was functioning better than mine, she grabbed my daughter's butterfly net. We didn't have to actually get in if we reached down into the well with the net.

We went to the side of the house and between the two of us were able to pull the iron grate off the well. The well and the grate aren't the same size so there is a gap between the house and the grate. That explains how these critters got in there.

Kneeling on the ground, Sissy went after the toad with the net. She really had to stretch in order to get the end of the net all the way to the bottom. You lose a lot of control when you're barely holding on to the end so the toad kept jumping away before we could scoop him up.

Sissy decided one of us had to go down there. She volunteered and it wasn't until she hit the bottom that I realized she was wearing open-toed, platform shoes - really sensible for an animal rescue mission, huh?

She scooped him up and we started for the field across the street. But he hasn't had any water for awhile. We considered that for a moment and decided the best place for him was in the lake on the other side of the field. The grass was pretty long, there were thistles, and who knows what animals were creeping around in there. Good thing there is a canal near by. We walked two blocks and climbed down the grassy bank to set the toad on a patch of mud right by the water. Mission accomplished!!

Silver lining:
1. An animal was saved from a cruel death.
2. I totally felt good about the rescue. I can't imagine the guilt I would have felt if I just left him there.

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