The Tadpole Experiment

There’s a pond in our neighborhood that the Littlest Brewster loves to visit. We walk down there at least once or twice a week just so that she can experience the pure joy (apparently) of throwing sticks and rocks and gumballs into the pond. Sheer bliss is if we agree to walk all the way around the pond, looking for turtles, fish, and other wild life.

On one such walk around the pond, LB and I noticed oodles and oodles of what looked like fusilli with eggs in them. I figured they were fish eggs.

Eggs 1 Eggs 2LB and I were very excited and told everyone about our fish eggs. After my dad pointed out that they were probably frog eggs, I googled it and sure enough, those are eggs for the American Toad. (Not a frog, technically, but closer to that than a fish.)

So we got the bright idea to take some of the toad eggs and see if we can raise them all the way up from egg to tadpole to frog.

Catching Eggs

Funnest. Thing. Ever.

LB thought that getting the eggs and some “allergy” to put in with them was just the funnest thing ever, since I don’t normally let her stick her hands in the pond.

Eggs 3

One of our TWO containers of eggs

Everything I read said to take just 10 or 12 toad eggs lest you find yourself drowning in tadpoles. What they didn’t say was how hard it would be to portion out a dozen eggs from a strand of 2000 eggs. Needless to say, we ended up with more eggs than we can probably handle. Especially since I collected eggs from multiple sites and multiple strands to make sure we got at least a few viable ones. (We found out they’re all viable, let me tell you…)

After getting our eggs, algae, and pond water, we proceeded to wait, no easy task for a 3 year old.

And sure enough, within a day or two, we could see that the tiny specks inside each egg were growing bigger and wiggling more vigorously. And pretty soon, there were teensy tinsy tadpoles swimming around!

In an effort to cull the herd without actually sacrificing any potential toads, I’ve already gotten a new container of pond water and fished some tadpoles out and into that one and then returned the remaining tadpoles to the pond.

But we’ve still got way too many tadpoles.

Tadpoles 2

Gah! So many tadpoles!

And I think we’re getting close to the point where they need a rock or a stick or something that comes out of the water for them to sit on and practice breathing.

(Can you tell I really have no idea what I’m doing? I’ve tried to look up what to do next, but there’s an awful lot of vague information out there and very few step-by-step guides. Maybe I’ll write one up after this, provided we’re successful.)

So I think tonight, LB and I will walk back to the pond again, release some more tadpoles back into the wild, and try to get enough algae and sand and rocks to make a suitable environment for our growing buddies. And then, perhaps, I will figure out where on earth to find the small live prey that our toads are apparently going to need when they get a little bigger.

Suggestions, anyone?

3 thoughts on “The Tadpole Experiment

  1. No suggestion- just think it’s funny because Jim took Ella down to the creek this morning to get tadpoles. I was a bit dismayed when they actually caught some because now I’m like, crap, how do I keep these things alive?!

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