Pollywogs, The Beginning
Would you ever think of raising pollywogs? I came upon this endeavor accidentally. We have two small ponds in our backyard and one is frequented by frogs. The other, however, is where they lay their eggs. Where they lay their eggs also happens to be our fish pond which we try to keep nice and clean. This year the fish pond was very dirty and needed to be drained to clean it. As my husband was talking about draining it I noticed thousands, yes thousands, of pollywogs swimming around. Now I don't know about you but pollycide is not on my list! I couldn't bear the thought of killing all those little creatures, not to mention that I love frogs.
I moved some pollywogs to the smaller pond but decided it would be interesting for me and fun for my four year old grandson to see what happens when pollywogs turn into frogs. So, I bought a small tank and overcrowded it with pollywogs.
Pollywogs - The Learning Curve
What did I know about raising pollywogs? Well, nothing really. Now that I had them in a nice clean tank with a rock, some vegetation, and some water from the pond, it was time to learn more about the cute little black sperm-like creatures.
First off, pollywogs are also called tadpoles, in case you were wondering. These young amphibians, particularly the ones I had, live in water, fresh water. They have no arms or legs but a little tail that moves to help them swim. Once the eggs are laid mother frog moves on to greener waters. The little pollywog is left on it's own before it even hatches. They eat the jelly-like egg until they hatch from the egg. Its not easy being a pollywog. Once they hatch into our little black wigglers they become easy prey for any number of creatures, from fish and other frogs to dragon flies! Oh, and did I mention some may eat each other? Not very brotherly but nature does it's own thing.
So, protector of life that I am, the next step is what to feed my pollywogs. When they are very young they eat algae. They will also eat freeze dried worms as they grow. Algae was not a problem for me as I could just scoop it out of my frog pond. They will also eat small plants, pieces of lettuce, leaves and such. I happen to have these small, and I do mean small, plants growing in my pond so I put some of those in the tank as well.
So far I've learned:
- Not all pollywog eggs hatch
- Very young pollywogs do not have a good survival rate
- Young pollywogs like to eat algae and small plants
- You can buy very small freeze dried worms to feed pollywogs
- I had a lot more to learn
Pollywogs in Algae
Have you ever watched pollywogs grow into frogs?
Remember I said thousands of eggs were laid in my pond? Well, another cause of death for pollywogs, I soon came to find out, is overcrowding. Too many in too little a space and they start dying and stop growing! I only had about four of forty die, but they weren't growing very well. When I looked up growth rate I found that pollywogs mature into frogs in two to three weeks. That, however, is under optimum conditions. My pollywogs were not growing according to the facts that I read. So, I decided to separate a few to see if there was a difference. I put five pollywogs in a separate container and left the rest in the original one.
Now a little over a month later I finally have some tiny frogs but more on that later.
My PollywogsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Caring for the Tanks
As I said earlier I now had two 'tanks'. Nothing can live in stagnant water and since I didn't have a filter on either tank I would take one or two cups of water out of each tank and add one or two cups of fresh water to each tank, every day. Of course if it rained and added natural water, I'd skip that day.
When the water got very murky I put the pollywogs in another container and changed all the water. I only did that once actually in five weeks. The worst issue is not how murky the water is, but how hot it gets. I really didn't want to fry the pollywogs so I checked the water (with my finger) and if it was too hot or evaporating I added a bit of cooler water from the pond. I never used fresh water for fear of chemicals harming the pollywogs.
If you look closely you can see long roots hanging from those little plants I told you about earlier. The pollywogs love to eat those roots.
I'm sure you noticed the rocks in the tanks. Well, maybe you did, but anyway they are vital to pollywogs growth. As they begin to grow into frogs they begin to lay on the rocks and once they develop legs they start climbing on and off the rocks. They love climbing on the rocks and diving into the water.
So to care for your tank;
- Be sure to add fresh water periodically
- Have a rock the frogs can climb on
- Keep small plants and/or algae in the tank
- Don't house too many pollywogs in one tank.
Pollywogs' MetamorphisisClick thumbnail to view full-size
Facts About Pollywogs
Did You Know
Pollywogs eat their tails
Pollywogs develop more quickly in WARM water
Pollywogs shrink into becoming small frogs
Tap water has chemicals that can kill pollywogs
Pollywogs need three inches of water and a rock
Pollywogs like dirt in the bottom of their tanks
The common pond frog is ready to mate at three years old
Frogs don't drink water they soak it through their skin
Frog Legs Take on a New Meaning
I know there are people who eat frog legs but this isn't the place to talk about that! When my little pollywogs started to sprout legs I was so excited. First their tails get wider, then they started to get thinner and soon two back legs appeared. My pictures aren't very clear because of the algae in the water but you can see the little sperm-like pollywog has back legs and is starting to look like a frog or sometimes a dinosaur. The tail will still be attached as the back legs form. As the legs form the pollywogs' gills begin to disappear and their lungs begin to form.
Next the front legs begin to form. Two tiny little legs. Now the frog has four legs and a short tail. Soon after the front legs form the tail disappears. Now these little guys can climb on the rocks in the tank. What amazes me is the frogs they have become are smaller than the pollywogs they were. Most sources say it take twelve weeks for the four legs to form but my little guys have four legs after five weeks. Maybe because they are bullfrogs, I'm not sure. I do know they are tiny little frogs and I don't think they are ready to go into the pond just yet. I'd like to see them get a little bigger and stronger.
If you watch the two short videos in this hub you'll see how big the pollywogs look and how small the frogs look. If you watch the tiny frog closely you'll notice too, how long his back legs are...a true sign of the bullfrog he will become.
Legs & Tail to FrogClick thumbnail to view full-size
We now have two fully developed baby frogs, several with just back legs, several with front and back legs and still more with no legs yet. This has been a fun learning experience. Hopefully the frogs will be big enough to let go by the end of summer.
I have added two videos to show you our pollywogs and frog a little better. They are very short so you might enjoy taking a look at them.
I hope you have found this hub interesting and will share it with your friends. I would love to hear your comments!
Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved
Baby Frog Video
More of My Nature Hubs
If you'd like to read more of my nature hubs, here are a few to get you started: