The name “Tadpole” comes from the English word tad for a “toad,” and poll for “head.”  In short a Tadpole is a small creature that lives in water and through the process of metamorphose becomes an adult frog or toad.  A more scientific definition of a Tadpole:  ‘a larval amphibian; specifically :  a frog or toad larva that has a rounded body with a long tail bordered by fins and external gills soon replaced by internal gills and that undergoes a metamorphosis to the adult’.

Frogs are Amphibians and they do not have a shell or scales so most will live both in the water and on land  to prevent dehydration.  Amphibians have been around for around 350 million years with the earliest known frog appearing around 190 million years ago.

Frogs are bio-indicators, which mean that they provide vital information (good and bad) about the environment to both scientist and environmentalists.  If an area has a strong frog population it shows that the environment is healthy and complete, but if the frog population is dwindling or declining it shows that there is something wrong with the environment (air or water).

Frogs are good bio-indicators because they spend part their lives both on land and in the water; they have a permeable skin and absorb and concentrate toxins in their fatty tissues.

Tadpoles and food

Raising Tadpoles is a fun and educational experience for both children and adults alike and where you can gain fascinating insight into a frog’s life cycle right before your eyes! Tadpoles need lots of care if they are to develop into frogs.  While they are generally very easy to care for you need to ensure you have a suitable environment with lots of clean water and proper food to ensure their development and avoid any health problems.

In some parts of the world where droughts are becoming more common the rescue of Tadpoles is very important to ensure a healthy frog population.  If you are in an area where mosquito-borne diseases occur you will need to make sure that you tadpole enclosure does not contribute to the breeding of more mosquitoes.  It is also very important that check your local laws governing the collection of wildlife and you need to ensure that the Tadpoles you are raising are native to your area. Exotic frogs can carry pathogens and diseases that could be spread to the native frog population – frogs are easily susceptible to diseases.  It is believed that the chytrid fungus, which is now decimating amphibian populations worldwide, was initially transmitted through the global medical trade of African Clawed frogs.

Before deciding to raise Tadpoles you should consider the following to ensure your wee froglets grow up healthy and strong:

  • Time:  Like with any pets, Tadpoles will require a certain amount of time and care to grow into frogs (usually over the course of a few months).
  • Food:  Depending on what’s available close to home, you may have to purchase food for your little creatures.
  • Equipment:  You will need a suitable aquarium or container, plenty of clean water (rainwater is best) and space for the little guys to grow.

What do tadpoles eat?

People who enjoy raising Tadpoles say one of the most difficult and time consuming jobs is to sort out the little frog’s diet each and every day.  Tadpoles have a long, coiled intestine designed for eating plant matter and need protein and calcium in their diet.  To ensure they receive protein, you can collect some leaves from the bottom of a clean creek (the leaves need to have algae on them) and throw a few of them into their tank (they can use the leaves for hiding places as well). Other foods they like are any green variety of lettuce (other than iceberg ) or baby spinach – be sure to rinse well first to remove any chemicals.  Feed your tadpoles small amounts of food about twice a day but only an amount which will be gone in about 8 hours otherwise you will be cleaning the tank more.  Tadpoles eat constantly so you will have to keep an eye on the tank and add more food as soon as they finish their last meal.  Let’s take a closer look at what tadpoles eat.

Raising a Tadpole at home

In addition to knowing what Tadpoles eat, it’s important to have a proper container to raise them in because soon they will grow into frogs. For instance, most pet shops sell various sized fishbowls, fish tanks or aquariums to those customers wanting to raise Tadpoles.

However, most kids who decide to raise tadpoles use such things as a plastic bucket or a wading pool.  In general, most garden fans like to keep their tadpoles in a garden pond that serves as a sort of incubator for these future frogs. Also, if the choice is a plastic bucket or a wading pool, experts say to change the tap water you’re using at least once a week. At the same time, most tap water contains chlorine that may not be removed by sunlight evaporation, so either use de-chlorinated water or add de-chlorinating drops, which you should be able to purchase at your local Pet Shops.   Click here to learn more.

Tadpoles viewed as fun pets

tadpoles eatTadpoles are viewed as great pets for young children because these wee creatures offer more interaction than say for example, goldfish. Tadpoles are a fun and interesting pet for young people and students who want to know more about biology and the world of amphibians. You can be witness to the wonder of nature and watch your Tadpoles turn into frogs right before your eyes.  Many parents and biology teachers view Tadpoles as a perfect pet for young students because raising tadpoles is not just fun, but educational as well.


Source:  National Geographic ; Frog Safe ; Center for Global Environmental Education (Hamelin University ; Save the Frogs 

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