Tales From the Polar Vortex: Frozen Tongue, Living in Igloos

PHOTO: Eli Esch, right, and his father Tom enjoy the snow fort and igloo they built over the last few weeks, on Jan. 6, 2014 in Minneapolis, Min.
Glen Stubbe/The Star Tribune/AP Photo

How cold is it around the country?

So crazy cold that a little girl in New Hampshire got her tongue stuck to a flagpole, the polar bear at the Chicago zoo had to head indoors, and an escaped inmate gave up the lam because it was just too chilly outside the prison walls.

How cold is it? Check out our list of tales from the polar vortex below.

Maddie Gilmartin, 12, learned a painful lesson outside her New Hampshire home.
ABCNews.com
Don't Try This At Home: Girl Gets Tongue Stuck to Telephone Pole

As if the freezing temperatures weren't painful enough on their own, one brazen New Hampshire 12-year-old accidentally got her tongue stuck to a frozen flag pole during a stunt on Thursday.

In a scene right out of "A Christmas Story," Maddie Gilmartin licked the flagpole outside of her East Kingston, N.H., home and was left standing in pain for 15 minutes while paramedics were called to free her, according to ABC News affiliate WMUR.

"I see her standing at the flag pole, her arms are waving. I'm not sure what's going on until I got closer," her dad Shawn Gilmartin told WMUR. "She tried to pull her tongue off of it as soon as it happened, and that's what made it bleed," he said, adding: "I had my hands cupped. I was blowing, breathing on her lips and tongue."

Doctors told the Gilmartins it may take up to six months for the swelling to go down.

Inmate Escapes from Prison, Turns Himself In Due to the Cold

It must be really, really cold in Kentucky. Authorities there say an inmate escaped from a minimum security prison in Lexington, KY, on Sunday, but quickly turned himself in because it was so cold outside, according to the Associated Press.

Robert Vick, 42, walked into a motel on Monday and asked the clerk to call police as the temperature hit the single digits with wind chill below zero. He was returned to the prison, according to the report.

Storm prevented midwives from reaching Indiana mom who went into labor earlier than expected.
ABCNews.com
Woman Gives Birth at Home, Alone, in Blizzard

A snow baby! A new mom in Indianapolis is relieved after delivering her first child by herself during a blizzard this week.

Mariah Grove was not due to have her child until Jan. 21, but little Evangeline Beatrix Grove decided to arrive early, according to ABC News affiliate WRTV. Mariah Grove called her mother and her midwives, but no one was able to reach her home in time for the delivery.

"Her due date was not until the 21st. She wanted to see this blizzard. She didn't want to miss out," Mariah Grove said.

"Once the water broke and I realized this was it, all fear went away. I realized it wasn't going to help me and that we would be a team and do this together. And we did it," Grove said.

PHOTO: Eli Esch, right, and his father Tom enjoy the snow fort and igloo they built over the last few weeks, on Jan. 6, 2014 in Minneapolis, Min.
Glen Stubbe/The Star Tribune/AP Photo
Minnesota Boy Decorated His Igloo Home for the Freeze

It may have reached 50 below zero in some parts of Minnesota this week, but one teen was ready for icy living. Eli Esch, 13, built an igloo and snow fort in Minneapolis in recent weeks and decked it out with Christmas lights, according to the AP. He even slept in the igloo with his dad last week.

VIDEO: Terri Hopton's newest roommates are eight Peking ducks happy to escape the bitter cold.
ABCNews.com
Too Cold for the Animals, Too

Quackin' cold in Cincinnati this week, where resident Terri Hopton took in eight ducks who live around her property and brought them indoors away from the cold.

Hopton told ABC News affiliate WCPO that the ducks can't fly and have been living on her property for some time. When she brought them indoors, they started - well - quacking. Overnight, the ducks get so loud that the Hoptons wear earplugs to avoid being woken up.

"But it's just too cold for them right now, so we brought them in the house, and made a makeshift cage," she said. "And in the afternoons for about an hour, I let them, I put four in one bathtub and four in the other bathtub, and so for about an hour they swim around and then we clean their pens and put them back in here."

Manatees Not Used to the Cold

In Florida, officials shut down the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge's Three Sisters Springs from swimmers and kayakers in order to protect 300 manatees who had spontaneously huddled together in the canal to avoid colder water, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

PHOTO: In this Feb. 27, 2008 file photo provided by the Lincoln Park Zoo is Anana, the Chicago zoos resident female polar bear. The zoo says Anana was kept inside Jan. 6, 2014 because of the record-low temperatures.
Greg Neise/Lincoln Park Zoo/AP Photo
City Bear Not Hardy Enough for Brutal Cold

And in Chicago, even the hardiest of animals - the Lincoln Park Zoo's polar bear - headed indoors to wait out the freezing temps. Officials told DNAinfo that Anana doesn't have the extra fat layer that her wild counterparts have in order to protect them from the cold, so she'll be heading indoors to a climate-controlled area.

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