Our Frog Project

Our Frog Project

Last month, frogs laid eggs in rainwater on our pool cover. Before draining the cover, we scooped up the eggs in a couple of large plastic cups. The next day we had a couple of cups of tadpoles! We made habitat from a plastic bin and turn it up under a deck canopy to shade from the Sun. The habitat also included large rocks and floating grasses, for our ninety tadpoles.

We fed them flies, mosquitoes, worms, and grubs based on our research of the diet of these tadpoles. During the project (it would have made a great science experiment), we discovered that the tadpoles would eat pill bugs and earthworms, preferring them to decompose a little before eating them. Three weeks into the project, we strained out the tadpoles to remove some mosquito larvae. While this reduced the mosquito population by seventy-five percent when we counted tadpoles there are forty-five left.

In the four-eight weeks that it took for the frogs to mature we continue to feed them every two days. We put the food in the corner by opening the screen to keep mature mosquitoes from escaping. At this point, we were down to twenty-four tadpoles.

What was odd is that although the numbers were down, there were no dead tadpoles floating around. The 25 tadpoles remaining swimming around were getting big and healthy. Apparently, they had eaten the other tadpoles while leaving the mosquito larvae alone.

I know this all sounds gross and most people simply want to know how to keep frogs OUT of a pool, but we found it fascinating and just ran with it.

By week six we had twenty tadpoles swimming around the habitat none of them had legs yet. At week seven the tadpoles were the size of a pencil eraser. On week 8 one tadpole had grown legs and a long tail. However, the rest were still legless well fed.

Before the end of week eight, one of the tadpoles finished developing into a frog. It was still small nor was it as big as some of the other tadpoles. We removed the screen so that the Frog could get out of the habitat.

However, it made analog we had placed in the habitat for several hours before moving to a location on the habitat lip overshadowed by a potted plant. Or the next morning if I was gone and there were seventeen tadpoles left. Among those left two had grown legs. The first frog left just one day short of two months after hatching from an egg.

By week nine we started off the week by cleaning the habitat. We used an insect net to carefully scoop up each tadpole placing them into a holding container. The mosquito larvae were also scooped-out and put in a separate container. At this point, not only were there still seventeen tadpoles left, but six of them had sprouted legs. The next morning the frogs had moved out of the water.

By week ten, there only ten tadpoles left. Because tree frogs are nocturnal some of them probably left the habitat good night. This morning we photographed one rather agile frog hop onto a branch, still sporting a stub of a tail.

During week eleven we checked the habitat each morning finding frogs on the container sides. Potted plants at the corner of the habitat helped the frogs could mature in the backyard. Because mosquitoes continued to play the rags in the habitat we had to transfer the tadpoles to a clean container.

By week twelve we were only a few days short the three months for our tadpole project. During the last couple of weeks one or two frogs good left the tadpole habitat each day. With no more than one of them staying on a potted plant long enough to be documented.

Because tree frogs are green and brown, they were hard to see on these plants. For three days, we had only one tadpole left that was noticeably smaller than the rest. While this one is not yet growing legs, its appetite is good allowing it to grow to a normal size four its stage of development.


Sadly during week thirteen, the last tadpole died quietly in the habitat. It was interesting to watch these frogs grow from hatchlings to mature frogs. During the three months since I found the tadpole eggs, out of ninety tadpoles, only sixteen survived.

The survival rate in the wild is probably smaller as these tadpoles have a tough life just trying to survive. One thing that shows is why they produce so many eggs, to begin with. That is because the mortality rate among tadpoles is so high.