From Tadpoles to Frogs

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A. Tadpoles                                                                                                                           B. Tadpole becoming a frog.

Early in the spring I noticed a small frog on my back porch. I had not seen a frog in person in years. Frogs are good, right? They eat mosquitoes. I was quite excited to see him. In my excitement, I spooked him and he disappeared. Which is probably a good thing, since my cats would have likely killed him. I felt bad, hoping that he hadn’t disappeared for good. Then I heard him singing one night as I sat on the back porch. At least I knew he was still out there.

One night we came home from dinner and noticed something on our rain barrel. So, we walked over to check it out. Sure enough, it was a frog hanging off the edge. And he wasn’t alone. There were 3 of them, just hanging out, singing like no one’s listening.

Several days after that, I noticed eggs, lots of them. So despite the fact that it hadn’t rained in days, the rain barrel became off limits for garden water. I wanted those frogs to live. Just as quick as they showed up, they were gone. I thought something had eaten them. But I could still hear the frogs at night and the barrel was still off limits.

Not long after that, I saw little tiny things swimming around in there. Itty bitty bug like things. I thought “that’s what ate the frog eggs.” But I soon discovered that no, they were the tadpoles. When they first hatch tadpoles are tiny. So, we waited and watched. Meanwhile, my garden mostly dried up and died. I got a new barrel for back up, but it was too late. Soon the tadpoles got big enough to really see. That’s the pic above. For every tadpole in that pic, there are 10 more in the barrel. No lie, there are lots and lots of tadpoles. It’s a little scary to see them all.

Some of them have started to grow their legs. After reading up on them, I thought I should get something for them to climb on. That’s what all the “How to raise your frog” articles say anyway. I went to my favorite pet store and ask a frog expert. She’s an expert because she had the same experience that I did. They just showed up one day. She said, “No, they are tree frogs. When they get legs and start leaving the water they can just climb the barrel. They have suckers on their feet.” “Cool.” I said and went on my way.

They get their back legs first. They look quite grotesque that way. It’s quite creepy, I’ll admit. But I still want them to live. Once they get their front legs, they start to leave the water. They still have their tails, though. As they grow, their body will absorb the tail for nutrients. Eventually it will disappear and they look like a regular old frog.

It’s neat watching them grow. I live in the city, so seeing wild life of any kind is a little exciting and fun. Also, I like having frogs. I like to hear them sing. I like watching them thrive in my dirty rain barrel.

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