My colleague Cheryl Powell is usually a cool customer. Even when all hell is breaking loose, she rarely gets flustered.

But that was not the case Wednesday morning when she awoke and began to get ready for work.

She entered her upstairs bathroom, looked in the toilet and discovered she had company.

“At first,” she said, “I saw it out of the corner of my eye. I was thinking, ‘What the heck is that? Did someone not flush?’ ”

A closer look revealed two eyes. And some legs.

It was a frog.

She screamed bloody murder.

Then she called out to her 13-year-old son for help. Being a 13-year-old boy, he kept sleeping.

Soon Cheryl’s bathroom buddy jumped out of the toilet and started exploring. Eventually she was able to trap him in a plastic grocery bag and release him back into the wilds of Stow.

For the record, Ms. Powell doesn’t dislike frogs. But, in real-estate parlance, it’s all about location, location, location.

In the overall scheme of animal invaders, Cheryl ain’t seen nuthin’. We know this because of the response I got after posting her adventure on Facebook and asking folks to name the oddest living creature they had ever found in their house, not including spouses or children.

The stories came pouring in — more than 100.

My fellow Facebookians spoke of rodents and possums and bats, oh my. And plenty of other creatures, too.

But some people merely wanted to take gratuitous shots at Cheryl’s visitor.

“Peeping toad,” said Jack Hayes.

“Toadstool?” suggested Stuart Warner. (Yes, that Stuart Warner).

“She should have called a toad truck,” quipped Maggie Fuller. (Yes, that Maggie Fuller.)

Matthew Bean was among dozens of people who recounted stories about bats. His tale had an unusual twist: the bat made its presence known at the same time his wife was reading a book about vampires.


Sometimes the response to a bat attack can be unorthodox but effective. Just ask Lorraine Fields.

She was camping with friends. Her girlfriend went to bed early but soon emerged from the camper screaming. At that point, “two drunk dads left the safety of the fire circle (safety?) and stumbled into the camper. Crash. Bang. Camper swaying.

“The two came out, each with a badminton racquet, held high together with a snarling bat squished in between the strings.”

She says they released it with a flourish.

“ ‘We’re playing batminton,’ they proclaimed before proudly opening another beer.”

Rats were popular, too, as were mice and snakes.

Wrong address

Not all of the invaders were from the animal kingdom. D.J. Laka identified her unexpected visitor as “an inebriated and way-too-high young man [who] belonged at a party five houses down from me.

“He was a gorgeous man. I should have let him hang out for a while. But, good girl that I am, I guided him to his destination, safe and sound.”

Jeanette Impiapro logged a similar but even more jarring sighting: “a naked man in the middle of the night who climbed in the window. He used to live in the house we were renting and had gotten drunk. He said he thought he was home.”

One reader disqualified himself from consideration. “Well, I grew up in a funeral home,” said Rex Cassidy, “so the ‘living’ part doesn’t count.”

Some of the house-crashers were aided by previous house-crashers.

After a stray cat insisted on moving in with her, my colleague Paula Schleis rigged a door to enable the feline to come and go while Paula was at work.

“Every day she left me a new gift on the carpet. Dead birds. A dead chipmunk. Dead mice. But mostly dead cicadas. It was the year of the 17-year cicada and they kept her plenty occupied.

“The problem was she failed to kill one. Without me knowing, the cicada finished its existence as it would have in the wild — by dropping its larvae.

“Normally these things would dig their way into the ground and wait 17 years to crawl back out. But stuck inside, these brown globs did the next best thing: They crawled beneath an area rug and tucked themselves into bed in my wall-to-wall carpet.

“It wasn’t until months later when I picked up the large area rug to scrub the carpet that I found them — dozens of them, all content in their hibernation, looking like upright beans burrowed into the fibers and counting down the 17 summers until their release.

“I released them early.”


Another colleague, Lynne Sherwin, wrote: “My great-aunt Betsy lived in Palm Springs and I swear she was Dr. Dolittle when it came to birds. Hummingbirds would follow her around as she filled the feeders and stare in the window when she wasn’t doing it quickly enough.

“She had a favorite roadrunner she would talk to, ‘Sweetest Bird,’ and he eventually got so tame that you could feed him little bits of hamburger out of your hand.

“Out in the desert there are no mosquitoes, so they’d leave the patio door open and Sweetest Bird would waltz right into the kitchen and fly up onto the counter looking for his handout.”

Angie Hawkins has had so many weird visitors that she needs a scorecard.

“My oldest son’s pet boa constrictor got out of its cage and lived in the wall for a few weeks.

“We had a family of raccoons take up residence in our attic.

“My youngest let a chipmunk in the house while home alone.

“My (dumb) ex-husband brought home a ‘pet’ groundhog for his children.

“Dumb ex also brought home a rooster once.

“And how did I forget about the ENORMOUS snapping turtle the dumb ex brought home in the bed of his truck? It escaped and we had to search the neighborhood so it wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

James Donaldson came home one day to find his wife in the shower with the curtain half-open and a raccoon sitting nearby.

“She had a ball bat outside the shower and I walked in to hear, ‘If you try to come in here with me, you’re gonna die.’ ”

They lured him into a trap with a can of tuna and sent him on his merry way.

Some invaders experienced a far less pleasant fate, such as the mouse Marilyn C. Weaver spotted one morning in her kitchen sink. “I quickly disposed of him. Thank you KitchenAid. Don’t report me to the SPCA.”


All’s well that ends well in the eyes of Randy Gyulay. “A duck came down our chimney into the fireplace. Poor thing was trapped behind the glass doors and going hyper. I let him out and opened the front door and away he went. Everything was just ducky.”

Traveling menagerie

Kathleen Kulow has moved around the country a lot and seems to have logged a nation’s worth of indoor visitors: bats, raccoons, snakes, mice, lizards, birds, squirrels, rabbits, an opossum, a goat, a young hawk and a dead groundhog.

“Just for the record, I am a very clean person with screens on all my windows and doors. I think I’m just a little bit like Dr. Dolittle. I think animals sense I will rescue them, not kill them. It’s a curse.”

One reader was only imaging things. “When I was young, 4- or 5-ish,” reported Adam VanHo, “my older cousin lived upstairs from us. He convinced me that R2D2 lived in the basement of our duplex in Lakewood.”

And then there’s this gem from University of Dayton graduate Thom Fladung: “This doesn’t count because it wasn’t technically ‘alive.’ But we had a plastic deer head in our toilet in college for more than a semester. Man, I miss UD.”

When reader K.D. Mudurian wondered how a frog could have gotten in Cheryl’s toilet, reader Richard Moore offered a theory:

“You’ve heard of having ‘a frog in your throat’? Maybe it, like, worked its way down and out.”

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or He also is on Facebook at