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The Tadpole Project: The Eggs Hatch

Thursday, September 22, 2011

 O beautiful gray tree frog eggs! There were a LOT of them. Imagine if every one became a tree frog! What a wonderful thought!
 I had my doubts whether the tadpoles would survive in the fish pond, since some of those wild-type black shubunkins I unwittingly allow to breed in the pond are pretty ravenous. So to hedge my bets, I took roughly half of the eggs in a Tupperware to a newly constructed tadpole paradise near the front stoop.

It's a great big terra-cotta bowl that holds about four gallons of water. I put some clean aquarium gravel in the bottom and added a water lettuce, a water hyacinth and an umbrella sedge plant from the fish pond. I figured there was enough algae on their roots to sustain the tadpoles once they'd hatched, and we'd go from there.

Only one day later, on July 10, I could see the embryos forming and becoming a little fishlike in shape. Man, that was fast.

 By that next afternoon, Phoebe's birthday, they were hatching! What came out of the eggs wasn't really very tadpoley, but more planarian in shape. The newly hatched tadpoles sank to the bottom of the bowl and sort of lay around in the gravel for a couple of days.

 Meanwhile, another rescue was in progress. For while these eggs were hatching, some big puddles in the driveway were perilously close to drying up. And those would give us one of the best gifts of the summer.

Time to make another tadpole habitat! This one was a little water garden dish made of plastic, about 18" across and 4" deep.

And its lucky denizens were some almost-grown tadpoles saved from certain death in the quickly drying driveway ditch. What fun we'd have with them! I hope you're all planning to make taddy gardens next year. It's such a great way to understand a little more about one of the underrated miracles of biology.


When I was a school child , and that was long ago , it was a spring ritual in our part of the world to bring in frog eggs to hatch in a bucket. Then,when they were hatched, release them back into a local marsh. A rite of spring. Still as fascinating as ever.

thanks for the biology lesson. Looking foward to the next installment.

I too used to raise tadpoles and release the frogs/toads. Real life biology courses that captured the mind and heart of a young teenager. My mom never really appreciated their smell though.

My first loves in the natural world were toads/tadpoles and newts. Still love them. Is there any song more beautiful and ethereal than toads trilling at night?

miss weezy in Texas

What a great birthday present from mother nature to Phoebe!

I spent my whole childhood and most of my teen years doing this exact thing! There is nothing in this world that I love more than amphibians!

Now, as a Preschool teacher I get to share my love with my classroom. Thank you Julie for this wonderful post!!

You should visit if you get a chance. You would appreciate it I'm sure.


I love frogs! Oh yes fish will certainly eat the frog eggs and the tadpoles. In fact I used to feed my aquarium fish tadpoles from the outside pond. Cruel..yes maybe but we had an abundance of them! I am hoping my little bullfrog will make tadpole babies too!

Kind of late on this one but we had a similar story this year. My daughter's wading pool was invaded by a grey tree frog, so we raised a pool full, along with water boatmen (boatpersons ?), and odonates. It has been a lot of fun to investigate the pool with her. Next year I am going to put a shallow pond in the same place and see what we get.

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