Since I shared how we are Raising Tadpoles and some of the resources we’re using to learn about the frog life cycle, half of our taddies have turned into froglets and frogs! It has been the most fascinating process to witness! Cameron and Lucy have been full of awe and wonder and questions.
I won’t go into the legalities of keeping amphibians. Research the regulations in your state to find our whether you require a permit and what is expected of you. Also, with any information I give, remember that I’m not an expert and I’m talking about our experience and Australian Green Tree Frogs.
We have every stage of frog development (bar the frog spawn aka eggs) in our tank at the moment!
Each of the tadpoles go through metamorphosis at different rates according to their environment (competition, temperature, etc). Their back legs develop first, then the front legs grow under the skin and pop out elbow first! (I had no idea – I got to witness it) sometimes hours between arms. It’s kind of hilarious watching them swim around with one arm.
It’s incredible to literally watch them transform before your eyes! Their once almost transparent belly changes (much to Cameron’s dismay – it is mighty fascinating to watch their teeny hearts pump as they swim around and eat) to opaque. The shape of their bodies alters dramatically, and you start to see colour changes and green in them. Their mouth changes and their little eyes bulge upward and out moreso – all in a short span of time!
As soon as you see the metamorphs have all four legs, it’s typically only a day before they will be on land – so you have to be sure to provide the right space for your froglets.
Our temporary set up minus leaves (lid only off for the photo)
You can see our newest froglet on the back wall (above the stick) in the photo above. They jump around with that long tail!
They don’t eat in the first days of being on land and instead get nutrients as they reabsorb their tail. Their tail dramatically decreases in a matter of days. Once they do start eating, they are now fully insectivorous. They can only consume insects approximately as big as the space between their eyes. As froglets (with small tail stub) and young frogs, they can eat a few bugs a day but as they get bigger, they eat every other day and have larger meals. The like fruit flies, small crickets, meal worms, cockroaches, grasshoppers, and earth worms. Catching the insects is all part of the fun! Cameron loves finding “a little one!” but often needs help catching them!
Frogs typically eat when it’s dark, so we sometimes wait until before the kids bedtime before we release the bugs into the frog enclosure so we can watch them stalk, pounce, catch and eat their prey.
Frogs are fairly easy to keep as they only really need spaces to hide, height (if tree frogs), dechlorinated water and humidity.
Frogs skin has been the subject of many discussions in our home lately. They drink through their skin and absorb oxygen through their skin as well as their lungs. Because of this, they’re extremely sensitive to chemicals and Cameron and Lucy have learned that in order to handle the frogs, they must first wash their hands and scrub their nails thoroughly. We got our sweet perfect-sized child’s nail brush from Montessori Child.
You have to remove any soaps and lotions. We also have dechlorinated water (for water changes for the tadpoles) that we dip our hands in prior to handling frogs. Handling the frogs is the kids favourite part, although we try not to do it often.
It’s a great exercise in gentleness and allows for closer observation. Tree frogs are pretty docile and don’t mind being handled. Our oldest frog actually jumps onto your hand if you put it near him.
Speaking of learning, this has been the first full-blown project that Cameron has really got involved in. From drawing the life cycle to watching a documentary several times, to keeping a life cycle journal (free printable here) and reading many many books. He has loved learning more and more about frogs and I’ve loved watching him and facilitating!
It’s the first time that I’ve been able to watch the magic and beauty of a child-led interest blossom. Cameron consistently wants to know more about them. Initially it was all about tadpoles. Now it’s all about froglets and frogs. The questions! So many questions! Thankfully we have many resources at our fingertips.
The beautiful wooden magnifying lens is from Montessori Child too and is the perfect strength and quality for viewing the tadpoles and frogs a little closer when they sit on the side of the glass.
Most of our wildlife books are by Steve Parish, as they relate perfectly to Australian animals and are thorough with beautiful photography. We purchase our books from The Book Depository and Fishpond (both have free shipping to Australia – Book Depository is free worldwide – and I just go by what is cheapest).
Cameron loves to use the figures in small world play and it’s great for him to clarify what he knows and is thinking about. I love hearing the things he comes out with. He was chattering about coiled intestines yesterday!
I hope you found out something new and enjoyed us sharing our experience! Have you kept tadpoles or frogs before? Come share your experiences and questions over at the Lovable Learning community.
Thanks for reading!