Where are Tadpoles found?
Tadpole care offers a unique experience to witness their metamorphosis – a physical development that occurs three times in the frog’s life cycle: eggs, larvae, and adulthood. Within three weeks of the female frog laying her eggs they hatch and the larvae break free. They can be gathered from a local pond as eggs or as fledgling Tadpoles or purchased in captivity. Raising and caring for Tadpoles as they grow is both a fascinating and educational process but be sure that where you get your Tadpoles from, they must be a species native to your local area.
Tadpoles are found in many places such as streams, ponds or lakes. Sometimes frogs will even lay eggs in swimming pools, or a garden container (ie bird bath).
Not only is it fascinating to watch your Tadpoles grow into frogs, but collecting your Tadpoles from the wild has genuine conservation benefits including:
- Tadpoles will survive better in captivity with the right care as they won’t be subject to weather or falling prey to other animals. More of the captive Tadpoles will reach maturity compared to their wild counterparts.
- It’s fun and educational for both children and adults alike and gives us a better understanding of the wonder of nature.
- It’s a great way to teach your kids to have respect for nature and the environment.
If you are thinking about raising your Tadpoles from eggs (the eggs will be in a gelatinous state for up to 48 hours after they are laid) there are a few things to consider. Set up your container as you would for the Tadpoles, though they are small now, they will grow rather quickly, so resist putting them in a smaller container and moving them later. Research has shown that eggs will die if they are in a small body of water and moving them around may harm them, so it’s best to put them right into container ready for their life as Tadpoles.
As with anything preparation is the key. Remember before you undertake the responsibility of raising Tadpoles, make sure you have the time to care for them properly, it may take weeks or even months for them to grow into frogs. You will need to think what equipment you will need and what food to feed them. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
The first step in Tadpole care is obtaining a suitably sized container to house them, such as a garden pond, child’s swimming pool or a large aquarium. Though your choices are many, the single most important factor is that the container be free of any chemicals or cleaning products. For more information on how to house your Tadpoles click here.
Tadpoles have gills just like fish and they need clean water to thrive. Whatever type of water you choose to use, the most important factor is that it’s clean. Rainwater is best and is relatively easy to collect by putting out clean buckets in your garden to catch it. For more information how how to fill your Tadpole’s new home, click here.
As the babies continue to grow and develop, their dietary requirements change. Their legs form and their tails are digested as a food source as it shrinks. The Tadpole care changes from a totally plant based diet to one inclusive of live protein, with crickets being their favorite. Other choices are aphids, fruit flies, bloodworms, or meal worms. These can be purchased at a pet store.
An important aspect of Tadpole care is keeping their water clean. The developing frogs release pheromones into their water supply to restrict the development of other Tadpoles and reduce their competition. Regularly one third of their water should be scooped out and replaced with dechlorinated water to reduce pollution and concentrations of this chemical. Allow a small amount of feces to remain in the water as the babies eat them.
As your little Tadpoles grow and develop you will need lower the water level and place partially submerged rocks or wood in the water to allow them to climb out and breathe. Alternatively add some gravel that slopes down into the water, creating a dry land area for them to climb up to.
Release into the wild
Your little Tadpoles have gone through so many changes and are now full fledged frogs ready to be released back to nature. The question is where to release them? If you have collected your tiny Tadpoles or eggs from a stream or a river, it’s best to release them back where you originally found them. If however you found them from a swimming pool or garden container it would obviously be better not to put them back there. The species of frog will also have some bearing on the best place to release them, so it’s best to check on the best habitat for that particular species.
It’s best to release them on a cloudy or rainy day, avoid doing so when the sun is very hot and keep in mind the environment where you release them as they will need to be able to find a cool spot to hide.