Raising a tadpole is an exciting and fascinating way to introduce the magic that Amphibians are to our kids but I found it is also an awesome example of transformation. Frogs symbolize rebirth and resurrection and in many cultures are a sign of luck. Don’t we all need a little bit of luck these days? Witnessing a resurrection in your own home is so cool! For me raising Mr. Big (that is what Stevie and Celeste named him) and eventually releasing him was a powerful practice in trust and letting go with love. Trusting that this little froglet knew his place in the world and realizing he needed to live his life, find a family and thrive in the wild not his aquarium was a special lesson for me and the kids.
Here is what I used:
-Tadpoles this is link is for 10 tadpoles. I only raised one and found a local pond supplier who sold them individually. Check locally for a pond supplier near you if you don’t want to purchase 10 🐸
–Bubble Terrarium Bowl you will love the way this bowl looks in your home and your tadpole will enjoy swimming top to bottom!
–Natural Aquarium Rocks I was going for a natural look so I chose these rocks but any aquarium rock will do. I even added some shells we found at the beach. If you add found objects be sure to boil them before adding them to your tadpole’s aquarium, they are sensitive to different bacteria.
-Spring Water This is SUPER important. Tadpoles cannot live in tap water. There is chlorine in our tap water and it will kill the little guys. You can add a water conditioner to your tap water to make it safe but I just kept a few gallons of spring water and it worked perfectly.
-Spinach or Lettuce We had lettuce growing in our garden when we got Mr. Big so I boiled it until it was tender and dropped a couple leaves in this bowl everyday. He ate it all except the middle vein so I would remove this before feeding him again to help keep the water clean.
– 5 gallon aquarium You will need an aquarium with a lid for your froglet once all of his limbs are sprouted. If you plan on keeping him as a pet you will need a 20 gallon aquarium, frogs need a lot of space and can live for 8 years and weigh 2 lbs! If you are only keeping him until he completes his transformation and plan on releasing him then he will only need a small aquarium or any water proof container with a lid that allows some air in.
Worms – this link is for wax worms which are the safest and easiest for you little froglet to eat. You will be feeding 1 worm everyday or every other day.
Bullfrog tadpoles can take up to 3 years to transform into frogs. The tadpoles from one frog mother will take 1 year to 3 years to become froglets -Mother Nature designed this process to make sure the frog species would survive in case of a dangerous storm season.
1. Rinse and add your rocks to the bottom of the bowl, you want a couple of inches worth of rocks.
2. Fill your bowl with spring water and follow the instructions your tadpole came with for acclimating to his new habitat.
3. Add a couple of boiled lettuce leaves. Mr. Big liked romaine and spinach the best. Remember to remove and uneaten leaves so they don’t make the water murky
4. Change the water once a week -do it more often if it looks extra murky.
5. Once your tadpole has sprouted all of his limbs he needs to be able to easily push his head above water to breath. This means it is time to move him into an aquarium (with a lid, frogs love to jump!)
Feeding your Froglet:
Once your tadpole has completed his transformation and absorbed most of his tail it is time to start feeding him worms! Drop one wax worm or meal worm in the water near him and eventually he will gobble it up. It may take a few days for your froglet to realize his appetite for invertebrates but don’t worry he will be devouring the worms soon. Feed your frog 1 worm every day or every other day.
Bull frogs are generally low maintenance but they do require a big aquarium if you want to keep them as a pet for their life span which can be 8 years. It is recommended they have 20 gallons of space and it is best to cover 3 of the 4 sides with a natural looking background to prevent them from jumping into the glass, they may need the 4th side covered as well depending on how determined your frog is to escape. This is why ponds are the recommended habitat for them, homemade or natural. I decided it was best for Mr.Big to live his life in the wild because he was constantly jumping and I wanted him to have freedom to leap to his little heart’s desire. Be sure to research your local ponds and make sure bull frogs are found there. This is important because Bullfrogs are voracious eaters and if they are not already present in the pond you choose they may eat the food supply for other species and mess up the circle of life.
Raising a tadpole was a fun and impactful activity for our entire family. I hope you try this at home and if you have any questions please email me I would love to share more with you!