Honey, I killed the tadpoles….I think.

Well, it turns out the rumor was true. My youngest daughter did in fact want to collect some tadpoles in order to observe metamorphosis. Hmmm,” I thought to my self, This sounds like it might involve water – and maybe a fish tank!”  Those of you who know me, understand this fact about me – I’m a fish killer. Of course I’m a very well meaning fish killer, I never mean to actually force these little swimming creatures to breathe their last breath – it just kind of happens around here. Like the dust.

Anywhooo, my enthusiastic daughter nagged begged, me to make her wish come true, apparently failing to recall my track record with fish tanks. I even tried to pacify her with a plastic tadpole. It came in a set with a couple of others developing arms and legs and included a frog. Who wouldn’t want a fine plastic tadpole set? They double as bathtub toys as a perk. Well, she wasn’t buying it. As a matter of fact, it turns out that this whole metamorphosis thing in combination with habitats is part of the provincial learning outcomes. So I caved in enthusiastically agreed – ’cause that’s the kind of mom I am.

Armed with empty yogurt containers and gum boots, we searched the nearest pond we could find. Though it looked suspiciously like a swamp under the threat of drying up in the summer. I didn’t let this deter me though, because every summer I hear a symphony of frogs in that very area. Not to mention the very fact that I used to fish tadpoles out of the gully in first grade – so technically, I had experience.

We found lots of micro-organisms, and then wait – something that looked like tadpoles! Okay they were really small, but they definitely had heads and swimming tails. We capped our containers, went home, and added our new swimming creatures to their new environment with carefully distilled water, complete with a pond plant.

They promptly died.

I realized later that they probably weren’t tadpoles. Tadpoles apparently, are a little bit bigger (close to 1cm to be exact). Luckily a friend offered to help me redeem myself by suggesting we come and scoop a few out of her pond. So, this is what we did. Once again, we came home and added to them to their new tadpole habitat – this time including the pond water they came with.

They swam feebly, then promptly sank to the bottom. They looked dead. Turns out however; that this is normal. Presently, they are hanging out in the algae on the pond plant, or clinging to the sides of the container and rocks. Sooo, they seem to be alive. I’ve fed them a little boiled lettuce, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Over time I’ll update you on their demise status. If all else fails; however,  I have a fine plastic tadpole set that can be immersed in water – maybe even with the pond plant.

In the interim, here’s a little tadpole video for you to enjoy – starring who else but, Kermit the Frog.



Filed under Life, Nature, Science

10 responses to “Honey, I killed the tadpoles….I think.

  1. Wendy Morneau

    Seriously… that was hilarious, and you should eventually write a book… along with the plans for joint homeschooling close grades together over time. Seriously… think about it!
    I love to read your blogs. : )
    Looking forward to lesson plans down the road – will check out some of the books you’ve already mentioned.

    We are hoping to get some tadpoles too -= if yours do bite the bullet – feel free to replace with some of mine (I’m the opposite and tend to succeed with living things – its those darn science experiments like light,sound, electrical etc (non live experiments) that fail over and over for me…. : (

    So then I just sheepishly say: ” Well, what was SUPPOSED to happen is…… ”
    Your friend and fellow homeschooling mom, Wendy

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  6. Hello!
    I was sitting here reading to my two oldest (we were reading “Old Mother West Wind” by Burgess), and they were asking what a “pollywog” was. So, as I picked up the computer to look for pictures of the life-cycle of a tadpole/frog, I was lead to your site! Just wanted to say “hello” from one home school family to another! May God bless you in all your days on this incredible journey!
    — Carlyn

  7. Lisa

    Thanks! I am homeschooling a refugee kid from Burma. Thanks for providing this blog. He didn’t know what a tadpole was.

  8. Kit .R.White.

    Hi! I am an 11/12 year old GIRL, whose hobby is all about FROGS!!!! My dad hates frogs in the house, but sometimes I convince (aka manipulate, lol) my mom into helping me sneak one or two in.
    Love FROGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Virginia Gonzalez

      Hi I read your reply regarding tadpoles. Convince your Mom to allow you to have a pond in the back yard with a fountain. It is easy dig a hole and pour cement than add water. No fountain After the rains you will hear frogs singing they will go to the pond and than they will have tadpoles. I just moved to Mexico and have a restaurant that has all kinds of ponds and fountains. From March to June the frogs sing. It is so beautiful:). I believe after it rains the frogs make tadpoles because every time it rains i look in the ponds and we have new tadpoles. 😉 It is the best feeling to connect with nature. I am watching them Know. They have not turned into frogs yet.

  9. Jen White

    Hi! What an amusing tale about fish out of water! We learned similarly about 4 years ago. PetSmart was explaining that it’s okay if a fish flops on the floor and appears dead, because once they put them back in the tank, they come back alive. (Of course, we learned this because we were horrified to see a fish fighting for its life on the floor, after which she proved her lesson.)
    We ended up purchasing a beta fish and had the most awful experience! Little did we know yet that betas J-U-M-P, and I mean skillfully! It jumped out of its little bowl, landing in my daughter’s Barbie doll hair, and we weren’t even home when it happened! We came into the room, looked for the beta. Finally we spotted it, horrified about what had happened, my daughter in tears. Remembering what we had witnessed at PetSmart, she insisted in throwing it back into the water, while I tried to find a way to be the bearer of bad news. Fortunately, I had no reason to be! It was like a little jolt went through it, and it was alive again! We’re thinking that maybe what happened was that when we opened the door, it somehow sensed a change, reacted, and accidentally jumped out of the container. How fortunate that we checked on it first, and that we’d seen that incident at PetSmart. The beta lived for another year and a half.

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