Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bucket of Tadpoles

There are some things that, if you allow yourself to outgrow them - well, it's damn shame. Raising tadpoles is one of them.

So I have this sherbet tub on the back porch with 20 or 30 tadpoles in it.

My neighbor stopped me in the street to congratulate me for attracting frogs to my pond. I had no idea because they didn't start singing till about 10 pm and I couldn't hear them from the living room. I checked the lotus pond after work and there were thousands of eggs covering the leaf stalks. The next day they were starting to hatch. Two days later - not a tadpole to be found.

What I did find was A) baby minnows. What the...? I was keeping fish out of that pond! B) Lots of dragonfly nymphs. As I watched, I saw the nymphs lunging for the baby minnows. They missed then but dragonflies are serious predators. I don't think the tadpoles had a chance.

A couple days later the frogs laid eggs again. The next day the already wiggling eggs were being grazed on by my too many pond snails. Poor froggies! They weren't not going to be able to reproduce. I ran for the sherbet tub and good thing. No tadpoles in the pond again but I have them on the porch!

These are the Couch's Spadefoot frogs, I'm pretty sure. They bury themselves in the ground most of the year and come out to frantically breed only when the summer monsoons come. When it rained all night and into the morning, we were able to spot 3 adults in the pond still singing away with their pale throats bulging. Too cute!

The babies are clearly algae eaters and I've never been so glad for the wide assortment of algae in the ponds. I can't wait till they get legs but I'll be sad when they leave home. Nothing like a bucket of tadpoles!

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