Sunday, 25 March 2012

Frogspawn - tadpoles

Ever since I was little, I always wanted a pond, full of frogs, newts and fish! Maybe it came from one of my favourite childhood books/film - Matilda (when she has that cute little newt in the jam jar) or maybe it's just because Ive always liked gross slimy things, but anyway, Ive always wanted one!
Two summers ago a friend gave me a jar full of tadpoles and I was hooked! I spent that summer digging a pond, rearing tadpoles and creating a suitable environment around the pond for them with bushes and plants 
This is a photo from last year of my friend Nigel, who's pond is full annually of frogspawn.
The process starts with frogspawn like the above. You need pond or river water to keep them as tap water contains chlorine which will kill the tadpoles. I keep mine in a large plastic box in our porch.
The interesting thing about tadpoles (I'm a real frog nerd so this kind of things is very exciting) is that when they are grown indoors, their rate of development speeds up by about 3x faster than they would in the wild. It's because they react to the temperature around them, so as it warmer in the house than outside, my tadpoles have developed really quickly!
They spent 1 week in the jelly-like spawn, and between the 1st - 2nd week they began to 'hacth' from the jelly and swim freely. They were much smaller at first, but now after 4 weeks like the above picture, they have doubled in size.
They have a large head, and thin tail, and breathe only under water. Between week 6-8 (indoors) they will begin to form feet, and eventually arms, and will be able to breathe out of the water.
I feed my tadpoles pond plants (algae) but also they eat fish food! I use goldfish's fish food, the flakey variety.
I cant' wait for them to grow legs and arms etc! And I will keep you updated on their progress :)

Other creatures I have in my pond are Newts! I had these from Nigel's pond last year, but they were already fully formed, but occasionally I like to fish them out of the pond to see how big they've got! This little fella had a wonderful orange and black spotted belly.

 I put him in a container for a little while so I could document him, then i put him back in the pond! I don't feed these or do anything special for them, they feed and live of the environment!

 He's just so cute!
I just love nature and bugs, frogs and little creppy thing's. I just find it all so fascinating!
This is my pond! It's now two years old, and eventually I will put the tadpoles/ small frogs into them, but not until they are fully formed :) It's quite simple to make, but does require a lot of enthusiasm! I used rubber lining , and was given a few pond plants by my driving instructor. Unfortunately Seabear (My dog Molly) decided that she wanted to cool down in the pond the other day, and she snapped my water Lillie's! Fortunately the root is still there so they will grow back.. eventually!!

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