In our abode, one accesses our basement, oddly enough, by stepping outside of the house and into an attached garage, making a sharp righthand turn, then marching down a set of steps and entering the basement through its own entry door. This peculiar design makes for some rather interesting experiences, as the steps are frequently used by various and sundry critters that are also trying to access the basement. It gets particularly entertaining when it’s dark, and you catch a glimpse of something scurrying about your toes, or feel little feet run across the top of yours as you are ascending or descending the stairs.
Among the visitors we’ve captured (and released) are innumerable spiders, mice, birds, shrews both large and small, various and sundry beetles and some exceedingly noisy crickets.
So tonight, when Michael yelled, “Jud-eeeeeeeee! There’s a lump on the steps and it’s hopping!” I immediately grabbed our wildlife transport kit, which includes:
- a large-sized yogurt container (32 ounce size);
- the container’s lid (we don’t want anyone to jump out of the container prematurely and fall to their death, or hit the floor running and look for the nearest bolt hole, which usually happens to be a trouser leg, and a trouser leg, from a mouse-eye view, is a pretty inviting hidey-hole in an emergency. You don’t believe that a wild field mouse will run up your pants leg? Ah, Best Beloved, listen to the voice of experience: when transporting field mice tuck your pant legs into your socks. It’ll prevent an unpleasant experience for everyone involved);
- a sheet of paper to slide under the turned-over container until it can be flipped rightside-up and the lid popped on.
Armed with said kit, Michael carefully traversed his way down the steps, flashlight in hand, gently nabbed the little varmint and then brought it upstairs for me to see: t’was a toad, a rather handsome one at that, and good-sized – larger than a silver dollar.
Here’s a mugshot of the fellow, snapped from the side as he was on his way back to the Great Outdoors.
And here’s another shot of him, with his little eyes firmly closed against that icky flash I was using to get his picture!
Once outside, Michael shooed Mr. Toad into a good hiding spot under the ferns. We had a great horned owl hunting close by earlier in the evening, so I hope Mr. Toad keeps a wary eye out on the heavens!
(This might be a frog rather than a toad… but he doesn’t have any webby toes, so unless and until some expert looks at his mugshot and definitively identifies him in a lineup, I’m calling ‘im a toad!)