Last year’s Snohomish Slew returns for Groundfrog Day, thanks to devoted caregiver

SNOHOMISH — For a bullfrog, Snohomish Slew is living large.

Children hand feed him about 10 earthworms a week, as if he were royalty being served peeled grapes.

He eats another 200 live crickets. Those get released into his 75-gallon tank, where he lounges in a small tub of water and stares blankly at commoners with the dull interest of a king.

He’s doubled in size since being adopted last year by Thayer Cueter, a veterinary technician who keeps Slew and his bullfrog understudy at her waterfront shop in Edmonds, the Just Frogs Amphibian Center.

“They are the two luckiest bullfrogs in the state of Washington,” she said.

Slew will leave his lavish home Saturday morning to go to work. He headlines at the annual GroundFrog Day celebration in Snohomish.

For the first time in its five-year history, the event will welcome back the same bullfrog.

The event, which falls three days before Groundhog Day, finds Slew offering a weather prediction, or “frognostication,” as organizers say.

In the past, new bullfrogs were shipped each year to Snohomish from New Jersey. Organizers would give the frogs away after the event to a school group or a business with a pond, Chamber of Commerce manager Pam Osborne said.

Cueter heard about that and was shocked.

She worried the bullfrogs might escape into the wild. She told chamber members that, as invasive species locally, bullfrogs can wreak havoc on an ecosystem. Slew weighs 2 pounds. In the wild, he could eat one of state’s native tree frogs.

She pointed to information from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife that recommends netting or even killing bullfrogs with a well-placed blast from a shotgun.

“Exercise extreme caution when discharging firearms on or near water,” the frog management pamphlet says.

To protect Slew from a violent end — and to keep him from harming other amphibians — she offered to adopt the bullfrog and his understudy, Snohomish Slew II.

Cueter took the frogs to a veterinarian, had them wormed — yes, wormed — and put them in a tank at her shop. The store also acts as a nonprofit foundation that rescues amphibians.

She treats the bullfrogs well. Every other week, she takes them to her home and lets them swim in a bathtub. In the summer, they get to paddle around the shell of an old hot tub.

Slew’s return to GroundFrog Day this year will add an environmentally conscious message to the celebration, Cueter said.

“They’re the two reusable frogs,” she said.

Bullfrogs have strong instincts when spring arrives. It brings them out of hibernation to breed. That’s not frognostication, Cueter said. It’s science.

She is unimpressed by Snohomish Slew’s Pennsylvanian rival, the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, who predicts the weather with a glimpse of his shadow.

“How do we know that Phil doesn’t have a secret frog in his pocket?” Cueter said. “That’s my question.”

Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455, arathbun@heraldnet.com.

GroundFrog Day

Snohomish Slew will make his weather prediction at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Ferguson Park, 1330 Ferguson Park Road, Snohomish. Activities will continue at Frogorama, held until 3 p.m. at the nearby National Guard Armory building. Go to www.cityofsnohomish.com for details.

Snohomish Slew can be visited during the year at the Just Frogs Amphibian Center, 300 Admiral Way, Edmonds.

More in Local News

Mill Creek councilman no longer lives in city, panel finds

The Canvassing Board determined Sean Kelly is not eligible to vote there.

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Granite Falls names Success in Education winners

The Granite Falls School District announced its first quarter Success in Education… Continue reading

Alderwood-Terrace Rotary hands out Educator of the Month honors

The Rotary Club of Alderwood-Terrace awarded its October Educators of the Month.… Continue reading

Schools honor service members for Veterans Day

Schools across Snohomish County honored veterans leading up to the Nov. 11… Continue reading

Yes to turn signal — eventually

Adding a right-turn signal at 112th St. and 7th Ave. is turning out to be a bit more complicated.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

Front Porch

EVENTS Music for kids from 3 to 103 The nonprofit Everett Philharmonic… Continue reading

Most Read