Saturday, August 14, 2010

Eastern Gray Tree Frog Tadpoles in Birdbath

by Donna L. Watkins

© 2007 Donna L. Watkins
Eastern Gray Tree Frog
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For years we've had a "deck garden" because the deer would eat many of the plants we enjoyed before moving here, so we decided to pot them and place them on the deck to save them.

What we didn't realize was that we were creating a small wildlife habitat that would attract many species over the years. For more on deck gardens, see the post: Build a Deck Garden - Birds, Frogs, Butterflies and More

A couple of weeks ago the Eastern Gray Tree Frogs were especially loud one night. We couldn't go to sleep for laughing at their loud screeching competitive calls to the females. A few days later I was going to wash and fill the birdbath, but found 70-80 tiny tadpoles in it. I initially thought they were seeds but quickly remembered the frog calls and after taking macro photos realized they were tadpoles.

I was very excited since I love to discover new things on our deck garden and this was definitely new. We'd had the tree frogs there for years, but never found any eggs or tadpoles before.

The Bucket Pond
5 Gallon Bucket with Pond Water & Plants

The day after I discovered them I found that most of them had died from the previous day's heat, but there were still about 30 swimming around, so I quickly went for a 5-gallon white bucket and filled it halfway with water from our pond. The reason I didn't put the tadpoles into our pond is because we have several adult Green Frogs in there and they would've just considered it a morning snack.

I studied up online for the best conditions and decided that I'd have a go at seeing how many tree frogs I could raise from the batch. As I was putting in the ones that had survived, I also noticed more tadpoles in the saucers under the two pots of bell peppers we had on the deck. I included them in the "bucket pond" and took some plants from the big pond to shade the water during the sunny times of day and because I'd read that they will nibble on duckweed.

When the tadpoles begin to show growth of legs, they transition from vegetarian to carnivorous. If they don't have enough food they will eat tadpoles, so I plan to provide a bit of cooked crumbled egg as suggested on one website. Being vegetarian myself, I don't have meat, but I do have mealworms in dried form that should provide a source of protein.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins
Tadpoles About 12 Days Old
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Note:  I've learned more since beginning the project.  They require a certain amount of water ....  Read update about the Eastern Gray Tree Frog.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi, doing some research about tadboles since a lot have been growing in my birdbath! How are they going to evolve, Am I going to be invaded by hundreds of frogs around my house ? In how long ? Should I pick them and drop them off in a nearby pound ?

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