Did you ever raise tadpoles when you were a kid? Maybe in your classroom at school or at home? We did one time when I was a kid, and I always remembered the experience. I thought it was fascinating to see the little things transform from a tadpole to tiny frogs.
So, this past August when my kids and I came across a puddle that was almost completely dried up, but had several little tadpoles doing their best to survive, I decided we could take them home and try to raise them (very similar to the time we raised a Swallowtail butterfly).
We put as many rocks and sticks from their habitat into a bucket and as much water as we could manage from their surroundings, and then gently scooped the babies up into the bucket with it.
When we got home, we rinsed out an empty aquarium and re-created the habitat they came from. I made sure they had a section that was all water, and gently sloped the rocks and sand into a corner. This gave them plenty of hiding spaces and also a space to get out of the water once they changed into frogs.
We found these guys just before we left for a 10 day summer vacation trip, so I thought for sure they would have died while we were gone, but when we returned, they were all still alive!
Tadpoles eat lettuce, so about once a week I let the kids drop a piece into their water.
When the water seemed to start evaporating, I wasn’t sure what to do. A Google search said not to use tap water because of the chlorine, but that bottled water should be alright, so that’s what I went with. They did fine in it.
It wasn’t until September rolled around that we finally started seeing any change, and then it was funny because it was only one tadpole at a time.
The kids were fascinated to watch the two back legs grow first, as well as the change in the color of their skin. Isaac, my five year old, laughed and said they just looked like a big frog head with legs.
When the first frog changed completely, we didn’t even notice because it blended so well with it’s environment. It wasn’t until my seven year old Joshua spotted it climbing the glass wall of the aquarium that we saw it.
It was so tiny, I thought for sure it was too young to release into the wild. However, after another Google search we learned that as soon as the complete transformation happens, they’re now carnivores and need to be released so they can find food.
Of our six original tadpoles, they all survived. In fact, it’s now October and we still have one left.
Our experience has not only been fun, but I realized it’s also been and educational experience for the kids By raising these little frogs they learned and experienced responsibility by caring for their tank and feeding them, about habitats and eating habits of frogs, life cycle of frogs, and even the younger ones picked up a bit of new vocabulary and understanding on what an amphibian is.
A bit of education was, of course, my complete intention from the beginning, right?
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