Creature Feature

A Mysterious Home Invader  

Last year, on a late spring weekend, I was startled by a crash and a scream from the basement. As I rushed downstairs, my wife called out, “There’s a huge animal down here!” 

She had dropped the cans she was putting away and had run out of the storage area. She did not see the animal but heard it moving near her. 

The storage area holds a second refrigerator, boxes that you “have to” keep, a sump pump and storage shelves for canned, bottled and dried foods. We have had an occasional mouse in that space but never anything large or scary.  

I entered the room with a bat and a flashlight to find the invader. The animal I discovered was quite large and in the dark, up close, was a bit dangerous-looking. I took a piece of plywood and trapped the creature in the corner. I returned with a crab net and with some difficulty placed it in a large bucket. 

The intruder was a full-grown bullfrog, but one so big, I could not get my hand around it. It was over a foot long with the legs extended. 

There are several mysteries within this tale. The nearest pond is about a half a mile from my house and bullfrogs do not usually travel that far overland. How did it get into the basement? I have had two inspections and no wall or foundation breaches were found. 

Luckily, no other animals have been found in our basement but I have never found out how the bullfrog got in the house in the first place. I relocated our guest to the Patuxent River. 

The American bullfrog is the largest frog in North America, found from Florida to Canada. In the southern range, they grow from egg through tadpole and become a hopping frog in one summer. In the northern climates, it can take three years to lose the tadpole tail and emerge from the water. In the wild, bullfrogs can live 10 years and over-winter buried in mud. 

They will eat any animal that can fit in its mouth. I still remember a Disney TV special that showed a clip of a garter snake trying to eat a bullfrog and the frog turning and eating the snake instead.