How to raise tadpoles into frogs
Can I keep tadpoles at home?
Raising tadpoles at home is a great way to see how a frog develops. It can be a fun activity for all the family or your classroom. Before you collect the spawn you will need to have all the necessary equipment to keep your tadpoles happy and safe. Beloware some 2 month old tadpoles.
What you nedd before you start
- A clean plastic container or fish tank (4-5 litre capacity).
- Pond or rain water (or even bottled water).
- Tap water has chlorine in it which will kill tadpoles.
- A calm space out of direct sunlight near a window or outside.
Where can I find frog’s spawn and tadpoles?
At the beginning of spring frogs mate in ponds and lay their eggs in clumps in shallow water.
Check the edges of ponds in gardens and nearby parks, or take a trip to the nearest woods and look for them in ponds.
- Bring 2 clean jars with screw tops.
- Lie down at the edge of the water and reach in to scoop up some frogs spawn or some tadpoles. Use the second jar to top up the water.
- Try to collect some underwater plants. Put them in the other jar with more water from the pond. You can use this water to fill your tank.
What do tadpoles eat?
Young tadpoles feed by scraping at the leaves of pond weed. They also like fresh lettuce and baby spinach. Before you feed them, rinse the leaves thoroughly.
Tadpoles only need a little bit of food. It is very important that their wateris clean all the time, so change the leaves if they start to look sad!
As tadpoles get bigger they will eat anything they can! You can feed them with flakes of fish fry food from a pet shop.
When tadpoles grow legs they become carnivorous (meat eaters). They will eat each other unless you provide meat for them. Small pieces of meat can be suspended in the water on a piece of string. Change the meat every day. Below are some tadpoles eating a dead snail.
Caring for you tadpoles
Your tadpoles will thrive if they are properly cared for and you will see them grow. See some tips for caring for your tadpoles below.
- Make sure the water is clean. Change the water if it becomes cloudy. Remember to only use rain water or water collected from a pond. You can use tap water if it has been allowed to stand for about three days.
- Try to keep the water temperature steady and between 15 and 20 degrees C (about 60-70 degrees F).
- Never change the water temperature suddenly as this is likely to kill the tadpoles.
- If you leave your tank outdoors or near a window make sure it is in a shady place.
Later your tadpoles will gradually grow front legs, lose their tails, and transform into baby frogs. Baby frogs are sometimes called froglets. Here is a tiny froglet on a lily pad flower.
When the tadpoles grow legs they will need a way to get out of the water. You can put some stones or twigs for them to climb. It might take 6-12 weeks for them to reach this stage.
Once they develop into frogs they are ready to be released at a site near apond and after growing into adults they can start a new life-cycle. Click here to see the life-cycle stages of a frog.
Activities and resources
Media credits: Arkive- as stated; Two tadpoles Markus@Thinkaholic; child holding tank-professorhouse.com; tadpoles eating snail Mariomassone; froglet on lily-Nilfanion.