Naturalist Corner: Hayley Watches Her Tadpoles Grow Up

Have you ever had the chance to raise a puppy to adulthood or see someone you have known your whole life grow up? Well, this summer I got the opportunity to do exactly that, but with frogs.

When I was told that we could add some frogs to our nature centers animal room as education animals, we decided it would be a good idea to start with tadpoles so they could grow up in captivity and be familiar with their surroundings.

The first step that I took, was to find a small pond that was teaming with tadpoles. I collected 8 of them and brought them to Upham Woods. It was hard to tell what type of frogs they would grow into, so over the next month and a half, I fed them algae, leafy greens, and fish food until they metamorphosed into tiny froglets. It was kind of like a gender reveal party for a baby, but in this case it was a species reveal. I was surprised to see that they were Grey Tree frogs, which are small arboreal frogs that are native to the Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada.

We are only able to have a certain number of frogs in the nature center, so before the last 4 metamorphosed, I let them go into the wild. The next step with the last 4 was to put them into their enclosure and start feeding insects to the frogs. This was a little harder than I had anticipated because we had to catch our own bugs by sweeping low growing plants with a butterfly net. Another challenge that I did not foresee was that one of the frogs would not eat the insects and did not survive. That was hard to see happen after raising them for 2 months by that time.

It has been about 1 month since the frogs have been in their new enclosure and they are enjoying the chance to spring into action after any insect that crosses their path. They are growing up and will hopefully be able to move into a larger, more permanent enclosure in the near future.

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