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.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Dreamlifter Operations Center at Paine Field airport on June 6, 2019. The operations center is located next the Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center. (Janice Podsada / Herald file)
FedEx said to be in talks to take over Dreamlifter center

The air cargo carrier would need federal approval to establish regular service from Paine Field in Everett.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Timely police reform; Ferguson weighs in on drug possession

Here’s what’s happening on Day 101 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

Brecca Yates, left, helps guide dental student Kaylee Andrews through a crown prep exercise at Northshore Dental Assisting Academy on Friday, April 9, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dental staffing shortages are more than a pain in the mouth

With hundreds of open hygienist and assistant positions statewide, local dentists are short-handed.

Officer Mark Brinkman (Lynnwood Police Department)
Community mourns death of Lynnwood officer Mark Brinkman, 55

He was a leader in DUI enforcement and known for his caring and kindness, even to those he arrested.

The Lenz composting facility borders. (Google Earth)
Odors are a concern if Stanwood composting operation expands

Air regulators drew up a draft permit that would allow Lenz Enterprises to double in size. Residents can weigh in.

With desks stacked away to provide social distance spacing, tenth grader Zendon Bugge attends a World History class during the first day of school for Everett High students on Monday, April 19, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Students statewide returned to school buildings on Monday

Districts are now required to provide in-person class two days a week for kids through grade 12.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Club president Zachary Nelson explains to a pair of students how the currency works while handing out free cryptocurrency at the University of Washington Bothell on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Crypto’s wild ride: It’s winning fans from here to Wall Street

Digital currency is worth trillions to traders betting on Dogecoin, Bitcoin and other blockchains.

Langley has become a passport hotspot for off-islanders

In Snohomish County, appointments are reportedly booked out months in advance.

Snohomish County kicks off new rental assistance program

It starts with nearly $25 million from the U.S. Treasury Department. More funding is expected soon.

Most Read