Mailbox Frogs AKA Tree Frogs

Tree Frogs/ Mailbox Frogs

Prince, the Eastern gray tree frog, stayed here from December through March, but then climbed a tree and jumped to another in a leap worthy of the Olympics.  I was a little afraid for him, with “all those hungry critters out there,” but I think I can still distinguish his familiar trilling out there of an evening, and I think he’s been in the mailbox a couple of times this summer.  Their markings do vary, as well as changing depending on where they.  I’m also pretty sure he is the daddy and grand-daddy of some of the current frogs.  After all, he had a nutritional head start with all the crickets I bought for him.

Mailbox Frogs 2010

5/20, 6/15, 6/19, 21, & 28 (came back twice, stubborn frogs) 7/8, 7/24 ( Tiniest mailbox frog, as big as my baby finger nail),

8/4, 8/5, 8/9 (biggest) 8/10, 8/14 (twice)

8/21, 8/30, 8/31 — TWO!  9/1, 9/2 — looked like Prince! 9/4 (cold & went back in), 9/7, 9/10 (two), 9/12,

9/16 (green cheeks), 9/17, 9/22

8/3  Took a lovely mailbox frog to a tree this morning (It got to 100 degrees today, not good weather to be in that metal/brick oven), and then taught aqua-aerobics at the Y.

Tiny frog (size of middle finger nail) has been showing up on screen door to deck August 2, 4, 6.


Going out for the paper this morning, I caught a cricket just inside my front door and took him out to the grass.  Checked the mailbox, and there was today’s Eastern Gray Tree Frog.  This one was very dark brown, not as green as the others, but green underneath.  Settled him in the maple tree where he blended well with the bark.  It’s going to be in the high 90’s today, not a good day to spend in a brick-enclosed metal mailbox.

Went out to get mail — another frog in the mailbox!  This one was quicker and sneakier, kept hopping beyond my grasp, and found a hiding space I couldn’t reach.  I finally left him there, hiding in that safe corner.  Maybe it’s a new species, a true mailbox frog.  I decided that if he’s that lively, he’s probably okay with the temp.  I checked on him a bit later to see how he was doing.  If nothing else, opening the door should cool it a bit.

I just went out to check, and he was much more amenable to being caught.  The mailbox was warmer from the sun, so I suspect my hand felt cool to him (frog felt warm, and I know that’s not right).  I’ll bet the tree branch felt really good to him.

Someone explained to me that they seek dark, small, safe places, and that most of those, in nature, would be relatively cool . . . .

Lizards and frogs would both eat any insects, so that’s good. . .

(Karen Maslowski  “You are the human  ambassador to the amphibian kingdom!”

(Shelby Smith  “Mary, you are my new hero!”)

I heard from a woman who finds frogs in her bedroom every summer morning and takes them all outside.  She’s MY hero!  Really, they are so darned cute that it’s hard to give them back, but the Conservation agents assure me it’s for the best.

(Laura Broader Gorton Or someone keeps mailing you frogs! )

I didn’t see a stamp . . . Last summer I did wonder if someone, perhaps on the Tom Johnson crew, might have been putting them in, but I think they really can slip through the little opening by the hinge.


TWO! mailbox frogs today! One tiny one was there first, and since it was staying below 90 d., I let him stay a while but checked on him. He was joined by a larger one, and I got some photos, but none as cute as I would have gotten on first view, both looking out at me.  By the time I got the camera, they were fleeing to the back of the mailbox.

I went out at dusk to put them on a tree, and the little one was gone (hope he hopped safely away).  I got the larger one on my hand and took him toward a tree, but he hopped!! — over my shoulder and onto my back!  It was hard to be sure if he’d taken the opportunity to continue hopping to the grass or the tree (pretty lightweight frogs) and I didn’t want a reputation, so I went inside to take off my shirt and check for hitchhiking frogs.  I think he’s outside where the Conservation Department wants him to be. . . .

I’ll admit, I don’t see the appeal of the mailbox, but I’ve been told they want small, dark places to spend the day . . .

On very hot days, I evict them in the morning when I get the paper.  Lately, it’s been cooler and they seem to like the warmth.

9/1)  I just took a tiny frog to the tree at 5:00.  He may be the little one from yesterday.  If they go way to the back and don’t look out, they disappear in the dark.  He was so cute on the tree . . . looked like a tiny branch . . .


I may have to think about an auxiliary mailbox* . . . The mailbox frog this morning looks just like Prince.  I let him choose to go back in the mailbox, since temp. is staying in the 80’s (F) today.  Then I saw a cricket in the living room and instead of letting it go outside, I put it in the mailbox — it did NOT choose to stay in the mailbox, jumped right out, past me in a flash and GONE.  Smart cricket!

9/4 Cold morning, very stiff rubbery frog, who managed to sneak back in.   Now that temps are cooler, I’m not quite so insistent that they leave.  The mailbox is no longer an oven . . .

Mailbox frogs over the last few days (more photos on photos page) . .  pretty hard to spot once they get in the tree — clever camouflage!

Today I tried to catch a little one.  It disappeared and next time I looked, there was a big one.  I think that when they really want to be left alone, they hide in the ridges at the front of the mailbox where I cannot see or easily reach them.

Tiny . . . and very persistent. The biggest are silver dollar size; the smallest are the size of my baby fingernail.

I’ve been told that it’s hard to keep the wild ones alive, one reason I let Prince go as soon as there were warm days.  This way, also, his fate is whatever I say it is — no one can say otherwise.  In my version, he has sired generations of frogs, who all tell his story . . .

(Laraine Crampton The thing that amazes me is that they keep seeking out your mailbox. I wonder what it is about the box that attracts them . . . surely there are other places to hide, stay cool, find enclosure. I’ll say it again, I think they consider you to be their personal Six Flags: climb up the chute, wait a while, and this giant being lifts you up into the sky and sails you through space to land on your favorite tree).

Mary Garrett . . . and as Mom used to say about stray cats, if you feed them, they’ll keep coming back . . . 😉

9/7, 9/10 (two frogs)

9/12  Police car and other five cars passed by as I stood in kimono and sunhat taking mailbox photo . . . I’ll bet they wondered about me as I wondered about them on an otherwise quiet Sunday morning.


I forgot to evict the mailbox frog at dusk, so I just went out with a flashlight, expecting he would already have found his way out to hunt bugs, but no . . .

I think the colder weather slows them down; they don’t sing as much at night either.  I took him to the little maple tree, and then admired the full moon.  Nice!


Too funny!  I went out to see the full moon, and a little tree frog found its way into the house. . . and he wasn’t that easy to catch, let me tell you.  I made use of a big pitcher to corral him.  He seemed happy to be on the outside of the screen door . . .

9/28, 29, 30

10/12, 13, 14, 15, 16     Mr. Green Cheeks

Since it’s cooler, I’ve been waiting until almost dark to transport him on the “froggy thrill ride” (thanks, Laraine, for that concept) of my hand to safety in the little tree.

Some chilly days, he was so cold and stiff, it was like playing with a rubber frog, and he was in no hurry to leave my warm hand for a cold tree.  I stood shivering, wondering how the frog managed to train me so well.

On the 16th it was later, very dark, he was more frisky than usual.   He jumped up my arm, over my shoulder, onto my back, and then off somewhere in the dark grass (or really clover, as the grass has not done well, between grubs and the raccoons that want them).  He hasn’t been back in the mailbox since.  I hope he found a good place to sleep the winter away.

10/25 One last frog, perhaps a reminder and promise that there will be more next year.  A friend at the Y wanted me to bring it in for a visit, but it didn’t look as if it wanted to leave its safe nook.  I called the Y with a message that she could come to my house if she wanted to see the mailbox frog in its “natural environment.”

*(Mabel Kaplan Hi Mary, Your story reminded me of a delightful picture book by Jackie French and illustrated by Dee Huxley: Hairy Charlie and the Frog. It tells how a frog took over Charlie’s letterbox and no amount of coaxing would get frog into an identical letterbox labelled ‘Frog House’. So Charlie wrote a note to the postman to put his mail in the ‘Frog House’ as a frog was living in his letterbox).

More literary frogs

CDs and Books Information

CDs– Frog and Friends     Courage and Wisdom: Stories Make the World Go Around

Prince the Frog Picture Book  (Click here to see on YouTube )  — and Books by Daddy John 

CDs and Books available from  Mary Garrett      

CDs available from Mary,  CD Baby and iTunes.

From Aesop to Uncle Remus, stories have been a way to entertain as well as illustrate life lessons and simplify complex situations. Stories delight children and adults alike, and they enhance critical thinking and problem solving.  This CD  presents some favorite stories that both entertain and enlighten. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.   More details and mp3 links below.

•Each CD is $10.00 U.S. and $2.00 for shipping and handling to anywhere in the continental U.S.  Add $0.50 shipping for each additional CD.

Prince the Frog Picture Book  $10   Click here to see on YouTube     and here for another Prince story.

•Daddy John stories collected and edited by Mary Garrett    $10 each or all 3 for $25

To order or ask questions, please e-mail me.

Storyteller Mary Garrett  —  Stories make the world go around

Frog and Friends CD

Prince, the Eastern Grey Tree Frog who came to stay

To hear  short snippets, click on the link for CD Baby or iTunes.

Frog and Friends

by Mary Garrett

**Music by Mike Anderson!

Frog Prince (4:02)

Wide-Mouth Frog  (5:30) (Trad.)

Frog Songs – Prince Trilling (0:59)

Bill’s Iguanas (5:15)

One Wish (5:26) (Trad.)

Grandmother Spider (9:23)  (Elizabeth Ellis’ story, from a dream)

Princess Joy (5:26)

More Than a Match (13:02)  (written by Aaron Shepard )

C.J’s Lost Puppy &Lost Purse (9:11)

10 Daddy’s Lightning Bug Story (3:15)

11 Carnival Elation Tall Tale (10:37)

12 Prince Has Left the Building (3:57)

Mary Garrett combines folk tales, humorous tales, and personal stories in the saga of Prince, the tree frog who spent the winter.  Mary believes in the world of story and the power of story to make this world a better place.

“Let’s look for tree frogs!” Coverdell Elementary students.

“Your stories held me captive.” Justin, Boys’ Help, Girls’ Help, St. Louis

“I don’t want to go have snacks. I want to hear more stories!” Castlio student

“I love the story, and even more I love the emotion in the teller’s voice,” Kevin Young.

Listening to Frog and Friends made me smile–I mean really big, even though I was all alone!  It is so much fun!  Both the music and the stories are artful, and I love the enthusiasm that bubbles up in your young listeners.  I’m getting ready to run another errand, and I can hardly wait to hear more “Frog and Friends.”–Mary Grace Ketner

I just spent an happy hour listening to Mary Garrett’s new CD. Mary deftly weaves the story of her “adopted” frog, Prince, throughout the CD. Listeners will learn the difficulties of frog feeding in “My Frog. Prince.” Her take on “Wide Mouth Frog” is too cute. I can just see the frog with his survey clipboard.

You just have to hear “Bill’s Iguana” to learn how this pet creates a Thanksgiving dinner dilemma and how he saved the family jewels! “One Wish,” “Grandmother Spider,” “Lost Purse,” and “Lightning Bug Story” add just the right combination of traditional and original tales with the perfect amount of imagination and wit.

“Princess Joy,” another original story, provides a very important lesson for listeners of all ages.     Way to go, Mary!

Let the Stories & Songs Begin!   Carol Connolly        WWW.TALESNTUNES.NET

Mary has given us a very rare and wonderful gift… bringing us some beautiful stories intertwined with her personal experiences with a precious friend!  She seamlessly weaves in the story of her endearing little tree frog Prince with some traditional tales … you’ll hear her adaptation of Aaron Shepard’s tale More Than a Match… with an assist from some delightful little friends.  Listen in to Story Lovers World and enjoy your journey from “here” to “there”! !! It’s a wise tale told so well!  Thanks, Mary, for sharing your stories with us!

Jackie Baldwin  Story Lovers World

Courage and Wisdom:  Stories Make the World Go Around 

Courage and Wisdom: Stories Make the World Go Around

By Mary Garrett

To hear  short snippets, click on the links for CD Baby or iTunes.

1) Real or Make Believe (5 min.)

All good stories contain truth, and this one actually happened. My father was my first storyteller, and I joyously carry his gift of story along with my kindergarten teacher’s gift of respect as I invite listeners into the world of make-believe.

2) Smell of the Bread (2 min.)

This story can be found in many variations. I have heard it as Jewish and Arabic in origin. On a flight from Istanbul, a Chinese medical student claimed it as Chinese. Stories travel light and need no passport.

3) Innkeeper’s Wise Daughter (11 min.)

Riddles within riddles, and a love story. I’ve seen it attributed as Jewish or European (and I loved it on Corinne Stavish’s tape).

4) Mary Culhane (8 min.)

I told this scary story at an Irish festival in St. Charles. Afterward, a woman asked if she could buy it on CD, which put this project on my “to do” list. Now if I could just find that woman . . .

5) King Solomon (2 min.)

Shall we live forever? Karen Chace found this story of King Solomon’s toughest judgment — a bit of perspective on life, wisdom, and coffee.

6) Scheherazade (10 min.)

The frame story of 1001 Arabian Nights. Scheherazade became my hero the first time I heard her story, and I’ve loved every version since. Could stories save the kingdom? The world? I hope so!

7) King Solomon (1 min.)

This wonderful Sufi tale is my mantra on difficult days. I first heard it as told by Doug Lipman, and it was my farewell story when I retired from teaching.

8) Minstrel Queen short (10 min.)

This story is also known as “The Lute Player.” I learned it for my friend Susan’s wedding. The tiny bit of singing in it is only possible because of the “Singing for People Who’ve Been Asked Not To” class at COCA (Center of Creative Arts).

9) Heaven and Hell (3 min.)

I used to tell this story early in the school year to set a tone of cooperation for my classes. In the Chinese story the problem is very long chopsticks.

10)Broken Fan (4 min.)

A Spanish story remembered from high school, a favorite at the Renaissance Faire.

11) Black Bubble Gum (13 min.)

Inspired by a John Steinbeck story, told with help from Brianna, Hannah, and Josiah.

Praise for Courage and Wisdom: Stories Make the World Go Around

We absolutely love your cd! The music and nature sounds add a very nice touch! Well done!

—  Annie Gross (and Hannah, Josiah, and Marc)

I really enjoyed your CD. Your voice is not pretentious, but is in the natural, conversational tone that makes good storytelling. I felt like I had sat with you for the time and just had a “talk.” Congratulations, you have a created a product to be proud of for a long time.

—  Mike Anderson

Thanks to

Mike Anderson at for the use of his music, •”Simple Gifts” and “The Minstrel Boy.”

•Mike Ehrhard at Sidetrack Recording Studios, 314-432-0447

•Elizabeth Ellis for holding me in the light through this project and to many other storytelling friends for help and support

•My former students for listening and commenting. One young man asked, “Are all your stories about women?” Not all, but I do love strong women stories and tell them often. Not only is feminism not a dirty word, but it’s also not new. There have always been strong and capable women, and thank goodness for that!

Each CD    Courage and Wisdom     Frog & Friends   is $10.00 U.S., and $2.00 for shipping and handling to anywhere in the continental U.S.; add $0.50 shipping for each additional CD.

Also available

  1. Prince the Frog Picture Book  $10
  2. •Little chap books of father’s stories, collected and edited by Mary Garrett
    $10 each or all 3 for $25  plus $2.50 shipping
    Bedtime Stories by Daddy John (Fussner) 35 pages
    “Sweet dreams,” stories of fairies and nature
    Stories from the Land of Make Believe by Daddy John (Fussner) 53 pages
    Dough Doughy and friends build a church, face a blizzard, enjoy life.
    Homespun Stories from Uncle John 32 pages
    Old time tall tales in dialect: mosquitoes big enough to eat a car, a mixed-up hen, pet skunks