This summer we are enjoying a weekly Nature Study.
The second week found us with magnifying glasses and buckets, headed to the pond to hunt for tadpoles.
We are lucky enough to have a pond, which is full of tiny tadpoles each spring. Want to hunt tadpoles? Check out a local pond (maybe one at a park?), lake, or creek near you.
Usually we just enjoy watching the tadpoles there at the pond, collecting bucketfuls of the wiggling creatures and using magnifying glasses to check out tiny legs.
This year, however, we came across a huge bullfrog tadpole and decided to bring it home for a few days to observe more closely.
After getting our tadpole set up in his temporary home, we got out a ruler to see how big he was. Measuring a wiggly tadpole isn’t easy! We discovered our tadpole is a little longer than three inches.
Then we got out colored pencils and carefully sketched the tadpole in our school journals. Do you see all those black spots? I loved watching the kids carefully duplicate those dots on their drawings.
If you choose to bring home a tadpole, here are some helpful tips:
- Choose a clear container to put your tadpoles in so you can see them from all angles.
- Bring home enough of the pond or creek water for your tadpoles to swim in. Tap water should not be used since it contains chemicals that may harm the amphibian.
- Tadpoles will eat boiled lettuce leaves. Just boil the leaves for 8-10 minutes and let cool before adding them to the container. We discovered our bullfrog tadpole really likes boiled spinach leaves from the garden.
- You can use a turkey baster to clean the waste out of the tank every couple days. (Just be careful not to suck up an tiny tadpoles!)
- As tadpoles develop front legs they also start to develop lungs. They will need a rock or something else to climb up on when that happens.
- Keep in mind that it takes tadpoles a while to change into frogs, anywhere from 2 months to almost 2 years for a bullfrog tadpole. If you decide you don’t want to keep the tadpole that long, try to release it in the same place you found it. Ours will be swimming back in the pond soon; two years is a long time to take care of a tadpole!
Not sure you want to bring home the tadpoles?
Bring the magnifying glasses and observe them in their natural habitat!
You can find tadpoles and frogs in all sizes and shapes!
My daughter was thrilled to find this tiny frog. If you look closely, you can see his tail is still there.
(She also found a tiny snail. You never know what you may find!)
Materials that may be helpful:
This is our favorite magnifying glass (very durable) and the plastic aquarium is perfect for even the youngest scientist.
Be sure to check out last week’s ant observation!