National Frog Jumping Day: Abelard & The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
I’m obsessed with my North American Green Tree Frog. His name is Abelard (as in Heloise and Abelard). I rescued him in Salt Lake City from a shipment of trees that came into a Lowe’s Home Improvement all the way from Oklahoma.
I didn’t bring him with me to Philadelphia when I moved here last fall, and I’ve been driving my family crazy asking them almost daily if they’ve remembered to check on him, water him, give him crickets. “Did you spray the frog?” I always ask. Which really means, “Did you use the reptile spray bottle filled with room temperature water and pump it 40 to 50 times into his terrarium to mist the air since he is from a humid climate and Utah is a desert?”
He’s a tough little guy. The people at the pet store said he’s never make it that first day when I bought the terrarium, a soaking pool, and a container of crickets. “He probably won’t last more than four or five days. Frogs just don’t do well transferring from the wild into captivity. Keep the receipt.” Keep the receipt? So I can return the terrarium when he croaks? Abelard has done just fine, going on three years now. Who would think you could be that attached to a frog? Go figure.
So for me, it’s in honor of Abelard, and not Mark Twain, that I’m celebrating National Frog Jumping Day. The roots of this holiday come from Mark Twain’s first short story, the famous “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” It was first published in 1865 as “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” and has also been called “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” In honor of the holiday, you should read the short story.
It’ll take you five minutes flat and you’ll feel very literary. Barring that, I’d say go to your local pet shop and buy yourself a green tree frog. Call her Heloise.