Tadpole Update

I had been worried about these tadpoles, I have to admit. We weren’t sure if they were still alive, as I’ve never kept them from the frogspawn stage before and the eggs weren’t as firm as I’d expected. They merged into a slippery jelly filled with tiny black dots, and cascaded over the rim of our bucket with the glutinous movement of curdled milk. I was somewhat heartened when I poured the glass jar of eggs into my no-pets-allowed-pond, and rather than bobbing around, stunned, they seemed to instinctively bunch together around the base of the weed, looking more like the protective bubbles they were supposed to be.

The next morning they were the first thought that gained form in my mind, and I made a beeline for the bowl. Joy of joys, wonder of wonders, they were alive! Nearly every egg had hatched overnight, probably due to the increased temperature, but Tom suspected (once I’d woken him up and dragged him out of bed to see them for himself, about which he was obviously delighted) that superior oxygen levels may also have been a factor. They didn’t look much like tadpoles. More like little commas with frilly gills, and they spent the first day clinging to the egg cases, and the next day clinging to the weed, but after that they started to explore. A week later and suddenly they’ve grown alarmingly quickly, and are now recognisably tadpoles rather than looking suspiciously like miniature water-demons.

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I was actually a little alarmed when we came back from Pendley and discovered that they’d doubled in size yet again. I assumed that the surviving monsters must have eaten their smaller siblings, but a vague headcount indicates otherwise.  I feel like Doctor Frankenstein, breeding horrors in the name of science (entertainment). I’ve moved ‘buy bottom-feeder fish food for tadpoles’ to number one on my to-do-list, as they’re darting about quite rapidly, constantly searching for food. Sometimes dark silhouettes  move through the tendrils of weed, sometimes a pulsing brown tail will be revealed in a shard of sunlight that penetrates the surface.

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Apologies for the slightly blurry photos, and the lense reflections – my camera has a fairly decent macro function, but was bewildered by this latest task.It did its best. Unless some sort of disaster strikes, or they all try to kill me in my sleep, hopefully the next tadpole update will be when they start to grow legs. Fingers crossed this takes a while though, as I don’t want them to grow up and leave home too soon. Surely they have to start listening to anti social music, trash their bowl and scream that they hate me first before they morph into sensible, mature adults?

Updates from any other crazy people keeping tadpoles welcome!

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3 thoughts on “Tadpole Update

  1. As a person who once spent eight weeks raising newt tadpoles in a baby bath on the kitchen table – I obviously have to say Hail, friend! (and I just saw the newts in my pond doing their waggle dance for the first time this year 🙂 🙂 )

      • They are high maintenance though – mine seemed to want live food and weren’t at all interested in the fish food which the frog tadpoles loved. I put buckets full of pond water through a fine sieve to catch daphnia and fly larvae etc. to keep them supplied. Of course then you get the fun of watching them hunt! (I expect you saw when you were googling, but just in case, one is not allowed to disturb Great Crested as they are so rare now.) Hope you will keep posting about your taddies – your photos are lovely.

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