The Tadpoles

We are expecting goat babies to be born any day now, but in the meantime, there have been thousands of unanticipated babies that appeared last week.

Last Friday we had friends out to the farm.  The weather was so sticky and hot, we filled up a huge galvanized water trough for the kids to splash and swim in.  It holds a lot of water, so we usually don’t dump it out.  We keep using it for several days, until the water gets muddy or the mosquito larvae take over.

The next day, Ethan noticed what at first looked like mosquito eggs all over the surface.  He looked closer, and realized they were frog eggs, and the mama frog was still in the trough.  We think she is a Barking Tree Frog (and hoping she is not a Cuban tree frog – we are going to try to get a better ID).

By the next day, the eggs had sunk down to the bottom.  The day after that, the eggs hatched.  Teeny, tiny little tadpoles were wriggling their little tails at the bottom.

Yesterday, just a week after the eggs were laid, the tadpoles had tripled in size. There appear to be thousands of them, and they have already attracted a number of carnivorous aquatic insects.  Two water striders, three water scorpions, and several whirly-gig beetles have joined them.  The water scorpions look so creepy, like underwater praying mantids. We noticed that when they come up for air they breath through a snorkle-appendage on their bottoms.  The tadpoles seem impervious to their sinister appearance, and trustingly nibble at their knee joints.

We had so much fun watching the little things yesterday evening.  I thought tadpoles could breath underwater, but they were coming up to the surface to breath periodically.  You could see their little mouths gulping, and sometimes they would leave a little air bubble behind as they sank down again.  The larger ones were see-through near their tails, clear enough to see their organs.  If you put your hands in and are very still (Clothilde tried, but couldn’t accomplish this), they come over and nibble on your fingers.

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