When I first moved into the condo back in October, Joe discovered a small frog living in the egress of the basement. He proclaimed his name to be Hoppy, and that he was going to start feeding him.
I looked at Joe, one eye brow cocked and asked, "And just what are you going to feed him?"
The answer was simple and matter of fact: "Crickets."
I laughed, shook my head, and said, "No. Noooooo way. You are not willingly introducing crickets to my ecosystem."
"But he'll starve! How does he get food?"
"How do you even know that he eats crickets?" I asked.
"He's a frog," Joe replied, "What else would he eat?"
We went back and forth for days on whether or not to feed Hoppy. Every time Joe would come over, and we would head to the basement to watch TV or a movie, the first thing he did was go to the window.
I asked him once what the hell he was doing, and he replied simply, "Checking on my little man."
Without fail, every time I came downstairs, I checked the window to see where Hoppy was. Sometimes he was on the left side, sometimes the right, sometimes he was hanging out in the middle. Oddly, he never hung out in the back of the egress next to the little tree that is growing there. He did seem to be annoyed when we would take the flashlight to look for him when it was dark.
I had to laugh at the two of us and this frog. Here we were, two adults, glued to the window, looking like two kids waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Shortly there after, I discovered that Hoppy had a sense of humor. Sitting on the couch one Saturday, I heard much commotion out in Hoppy's little aluminum abode, and saw that Killian and Sophia were intently stalking something. I looked to see what all the noise was, and it was Hoppy, hopping back and forth, teasing the cats.
He got quite close that day (as you can see from the above picture), and Sophia lunged at the window, ricocheting herself off the glass and landing on the loveseat, annoyed that she hadn't been able to catch him. Both cats soon lost interest, being that they couldn't get at him, and went to find a sunbeam to sleep in.
However, Hoppy remained at the window, watching me, watching TV.
The next weekend, I took off to Shreveport for work for three weeks. When I returned on Thanksgiving, it was cold and snowy. I went downstairs to the window, to check on Hoppy. He was there, huddled in a little hole under the side of the aluminum wall, he looked cold and skinny. For the first time, I had a twinge of guilt, that maybe we should have brought him inside when I first moved in, and maybe I shouldn't have been so adamant about Joe not feeding him crickets. After all, he was our little man!
I checked on him again before I went back to Shreveport, and he was still in his little hole, and when I came back 5 days later, he was still there. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought, "What if Hoppy's dead?" Who would think that a person could become so attached to a little frog living outside their window? However, here I was teary eyed over this little amphibian.
I text messaged Joe and reported that Hoppy was still in his little hole, that he hadn't moved in at least 3 weeks, and I feared for the worst. A sadness fell over me, as I thought about poor Hoppy. More importantly, what was I going to do if he was dead? I certainly wasn't going to look at him for the rest of the winter.
I then set to Googling everything I could about frogs and what they do in the wintertime. I asked the Google "Do frogs hibernate?" Like a magic 8 ball, this was the first site I was pointed to.
Q. How do frogs survive the winter in cold places?
A. The frogs hibernate in burrows or bury themselves in mud. Toads and frogs are cold-blooded and their body processes slow down as the outside temperature drops. This is why you sometimes find frogs sunning themselves in the spring. Their body temp needs to rise for them to move well. Frogs' bodies have some natural antifreeze chemicals built into them, but a few kinds of frogs who live in especially cold climates can even survive being frozen solid.
Before Joe could reply to my original text message, I texted him again: "FROGS HIBERNATE!!" He replied, "I KNOW!" Hmm.
After that, whenever this crazy weather here in Michigan warmed up a bit, Hoppy would thaw out and come out into the sun. When it got cold, he'd go back into hiding. Seeing Hoppy out of his little hole, no matter how skinny he was, always made me smile, and usually warranted a very excited text message to Joe saying, "Hoppy's out!"
I stopped seeing Hoppy in his little hole sometime in January, I figured that with it being as cold as it has, he'd gone deeper into the ground.
However, it's warming up again, but there's still no Hoppy. Joe and I have surmised that he has found a Hoppette, and found another egress to live in, but still I wonder where Hoppy as gone to.
Every time I come downstairs, I still check the egress for Hoppy, hoping he's there.
After all, he is our little man.