Believed to be from near Milledgeville, this Cope’s gray treefrog accidentally took the trip of a lifetime after hopping into the cab of a trucker who drove the thousand miles home to Toronto. It is now in a Roswell wildlife center. (Photo courtesy of Chattahoochee Nature Center)
Photo: Photo courtesy of Chattahoochee Nature Center
Photo: Photo courtesy of Chattahoochee Nature Center

Georgia frog takes journey of lifetime before landing in Roswell

There’s a frog in Roswell with some miles on it.

Believed to be from near Milledgeville, the frog accidentally took the trip of a lifetime after jumping into the cab of a trucker in Georgia who unknowingly transported his amphibious cargo one thousand miles to Toronto.

Cope’s gray treefrogs like this one usually never travel more than two miles away from where they were born. University of Georgia scientists say the frogs are commonly found throughout the Southeast, including nearly all of Georgia and South Carolina.

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Jon Copsey, spokesman for the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, said Monday they believe the frog hitched a ride in Sandersville and then the trucker found the frog when he arrived at a shipping building in Canada.

The trucker let the frog go, but it came back the next day, which makes the frog either smart or lucky.

“It would not have fared well had it been left to the Canadian winter,” said Nathalie Karvonen, executive director of the Toronto Wildlife Centre.

The trucker put the frog in a container and took it to his home near Toronto, where his girlfriend called the wildlife center’s hotline. The center agreed to take in the frog.

After days of not eating, the wildlife center gave the frog some insects to munch on — it wasn’t immediately known if maple syrup was also served.

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The staff wanted to get the frog back into the wild where it belongs, so they called facilities in Georgia and the center in Roswell agreed to take the frog.

For those who have been hassled at customs, imagine moving a living animal across international borders.

“The paperwork is a living nightmare,” Karvonen said.

She said they have practice with the arduous process, as a few American animals have ended up in the Great White North.

Karvonen said it took months to send a snake back to Arkansas. She said they currently have a California raccoon that latched onto a truck for 16 days and gave birth before ending up in Canada.

Karvonen said there’s a strong network of wildlife centers that get animals back to their natural habitats.

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Three weeks after getting all the paperwork approved from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Canadians were ready to send the frog back to Georgia.

They drove the frog to New York, where, with the help of Reptile Express International — “For All Your Reptile Shipping Needs” — the frog hopped a June 18 cargo flight to Atlanta.

Copsey said that no one can think of another time in the Roswell wildlife center’s 41-year history that they have received an international animal shipment.

The staff in Roswell is watching the frog to make sure it is healthy before releasing it back in Sandersville. Copsey said it’s the center’s policy to return animals back to the wild.

“That’s where they belong, that’s where their homes are,” he said.

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