The time has come.
My tadpoles have started to turn into tiny frogs, staring mournfully out through the convex glass of their
prison home and dreaming of freedom. first they grew useless looking, skeletal appendages beneath their tails, which slowly grew stronger and began to be utilised for extra propulsion, and then front legs exploded out of their heads (I’m not joking; it’s really weird). Despite giving them a gently-sloping stone platform they can sit on above water level, and procuring a Tupperware box full of aphids to feed them from the garden of one of my students (that family will never view me as a sensible, normal adult again), to my absolute horror I somehow lost two more frogs last week. I was perplexed by this, and mortified, and even a little upset (I know they’re just frogs, but they’re my frogs!)
I had secretly been harbouring plans to keep a few, but realised the impracticality of this. Firstly, having to regularly hunt down live prey is not really my thing (daphnia seem to be of no interest to them, unfortunately). Before finding the aphids, I spent an uneasy afternoon desperately searching the flat for ants, tiny flies or other insect life small enough to feed to them, contemplating such things as moths and bumble bees before shaking my head and muttering “too big, too big” under my breath. Nothing could be found (probably a good thing?!) and I realised that I was going a bit mad. Plus there was the death thing. I really didn’t want to be inadvertently responsible for any more tiny corpses disappearing into the willing maws of their siblings.
Literally climbing the (glass) walls. Normal frogs aren’t supposed to be able to do this, so they must be desperate.
Tom headed to Dorset for a man-weekend with one of his man-friends (it’s not quite Vegas is it, but as long as they’re happy) so I took the opportunity to visit my parents, and release my froglets somewhere suitably pastoral. I got the train South, and bought myself a small bottle of champagne for the journey, to toast their freedom. I actually bumped into an old school friend at Charing Cross, so we travelled down together and kept the froglets company (I’m not sure if he was more perturbed by the fact that I was transporting baby frogs in Tupperware or that I was planning on drinking champagne on a train, on my own, in the afternoon… but anyway, I thought it was a good send-off).
There’s a beautiful and ancient pond near where my parents live, that I actually released the last few I managed to keep alive into (tadpoles must view my flat as being like a set from Battle Royale). It’s very overgrown, and I had to tiptoe between briars and across spongy moss to reach the edge, but it’s a small, lily-pad filled oasis. It’s also surrounded by ancient blackthorn, hazel and oak trees, and has a lovely view across rolling Sussex countryside (not that the froglets will care, I know, they’ll be preoccupied with trying not to be eaten, but it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside).
Nice bit uh prime reel estate. Jus perfic fur frogs.
I used to go out hacking in my youth with one of our neighbours and her daughter, and we would often ride past this particular pond. She told me that a body was found in it years ago, preserved in the same way as the Lindow Man and Woman, but I never knew if she was telling me the truth. I’m less suspicious of the story that prehistoric weapons and tools were found in it though, which suggests that it may have been around since the Bronze Age. The log where Kevin Costner addressed his merry men is also nearby, but again I don’t think the frogs will care.
Yes, I climbed over a five bar gate in a mini skirt and high heels. What else was I supposed to do?!
A last farewell.
As soon as I dipped the box into the water the remaining tadpoles disappeared into the shadowy depths, and the froglets breast-stroked their way to the edge to hide in the grass.
Here’s me looking sad to say goodbye.
I’ve been trying to think of something else I can keep in my fish-bowl that I’ll be able to keep alive, other than pond-snails (which aren’t the most exciting…) any ideas?
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