Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tadpoles: Day 33

After a bit of online research (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, but especially here, here, and here) we've determined with some degree of certainty that we're raising spring peepers.

They have lateral eyes (meaning they're on the sides of the head, not the top), they have translucent bellies so we can see their internal organs, the rest of their bodies are light brown with flecks of gold, they have a clear tail fin, and they're all about the right size. (They also look virtually identical to the ones on this website, which was kind of the tipping point for identifying ours as spring peepers).

Our water's been getting pretty gunky in spite of changing it out every so often. It probably doesn't help that we're using rain barrel water so it's starting out a little nasty as it is. Anyway, that same helpful website suggested using a turkey baster to suck out all the gunk—you know, the poop and the...dead bodies. Yeah, our tadpoles went a little cannibalistic and ate the tails off several of their siblings, leaving their heads to roll around the bottom of the tank. It's been lovely to look at. But I think I managed to suck most of them out.

We never use the turkey baster, anyway.

I've been trying to match their mouth shape to pictures in this pamphlet but I'm pretty sure I just don't know what I'm looking at.

At any rate, they're still growing. Though they aren't getting any bigger, they're certainly growing legs!

I played their call last night and Andrew thought it was actually coming from outside; it's certainly a call that we're familiar with so we know there are spring peepers in the neighbourhood.

(from the Wikipedia page on spring peepers)

The only bit of evidence against us is that I've read spring peepers tend to lay eggs singly or in clutches of two or three. We found an large clutch of eggs—somewhere between thirty and forty. This book, however, says that large clutches are somewhat normal...


  1. I wonder if an ag agent in the county would look at your blog pictures and tell you differently? I think you've done great research, and I've enjoyed the updates on your little critters. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nancy, you could email someone like Rex Cates or Larry St. Clair...oh, I guess they are botany guys...but they would have some zoological friends. Well, you were the bio grad might have someone you know who can look at the pictures on your blog and give you a positive ID. ??