Thursday, June 5, 2008


On the last day at our Mommy and Me nature class one of the parents brought in some tadpoles for the kids to take home if they wanted. I thought it would be neat to see them turn into frogs over the next couple of weeks, so we took three tadpoles of each species. Here is a photo of our aquarium that we set up the next day.

The poor things had to live in a bucket of water until we got the aquarium at the pet store. The two big blurry things at the top left, and on the bottom in the middle are American Bullfrog tadpoles, the small dark things at the top right, and bottom right are, I have since determined, Western Chorus Frog tadpoles. The orange is a goldfish that was in the feeder tank at the pet store that Joseph talked me into buying. I figured for 26 cents, why not? Of course if I had thought about Jim's opinion, I could have thought of lots of reasons for why not, but that is a different story. Joseph decided to name the fish Dinosaur, all on his own. He is so creative!

Well, back to the tadpoles. A couple of days ago I noticed that one of the Chorus Frog tadpoles had back and front legs, but it was still in the water at the bottom of the tank. Later that day is was floating at the top.

By that evening it's lungs must have developed though, because then when we were going to feed them we noticed the froglet stuck to the glass on the side of the tank. He was changing really fast!

The next day the tale was almost completely gone. The froglet started spending most of its time on the side of the tank. I showed Joseph how the tale was mostly gone, and he was puzzled by this. Growing legs was something he could understand, but losing the tail, now that was just too weird. Since the tadpole is now mostly a frog, we are going let it go in a pond the nature preserve tomorrow. There are lots of other Chorus Frogs there, so that should be a good place for him.

A few days ago, when the frog had his all of his legs, I told Joseph that we would be letting the frog go soon, and he didn't like this idea at all and almost started crying. I explained that it can be very hard to make sure that a frog has enough food, and that he will be much happier in the pond. After that he seemed pretty OK with letting him go, though he has been saying that we are going to keep the big tadpoles. I just said that "yes, for a while, we will." I learned through my research that American Bullfrog tadpoles take two summers to change, and they complete the metamorphosis by the end of the second summer. One of our Bullfrog tadpoles has legs already, so I think he will change this summer, but the other two don't have legs yet. My guess is that they are in their first summer. At any rate we will be letting them all go at the end of summer, because I really don't want to keep them over winter. I will cross that bridge with Joseph when the time comes, but for now he gets to watch them.


Heidi said...

What a nice project. Did you let the one go in the meantime? What did Joseph think about that? Nice that you also have a goldfish. Karl and Ike have a goldfish in an aquarium also and that one is now at least 14 years old I believe. They can live a long time.

Michelle Liebgott-Osinga said...

Yes, they can live a very long time if they are taken care of well. Do you remember that goldfish we had one time that got to about 5 inches?