Tadpoles – Everything You Need to Know

Watching frogs grow from tadpoles to fully grown amphibians can be an exciting thing. Nonetheless, tadpoles are delicate, and therefore, they require proper care.

If you keep tadpoles at your home, you should observe some basic requirements to ensure your tadpoles grow to frogs.

However, maintaining tadpoles is relatively easy if you know what it takes to take care of these tiny creatures. We shall cover everything you need to know about tadpoles in this guide.

What are Tadpoles?

Tadpoles are tiny creatures that resemble small fishes. Tadpoles are frogs in the larva stage of their life cycle. Tadpoles have features that aren’t present in adult frogs. For instance, tadpoles have tails, gills, and a lateral line.

Tadpoles Life Cycle

Here is the life cycle of tadpoles:

– The egg stage

This stage begins after mating, whereby a female frog lays fertilized eggs in the water.  A single female frog can lay more than 4,000 eggs at once. The frog’s eggs float on water in a cluster or a jelly mass.   It takes up to three weeks for the eggs to hatch into tadpoles.

– The tadpole stage

At the time of hatching, tadpoles appear more of fish than frogs. Tadpoles live entirely in water. Tadpoles also don’t have nostrils like adult frogs. They use gills for breathing.

These fish-like creatures also don’t have legs.  Tadpoles take several weeks to grow into froglets.  Their primary diet consists of plants and algae.

– The froglet stage

This stage is the last part of a tadpole’s lifecycle. During this stage, tadpoles develop lungs, making it possible for them to breathe inside the water. Tadpoles also begin to grow hind legs at this stage.

Finally, the tadpoles grow into froglets.  Young froglets can swim and leap around. Although froglets may appear like frogs, they still have long tails, unlike adult frogs.

How Long Are Frogs’ Tadpoles?

The length of a tadpole can vary depending on the frog species. Some tadpoles are longer than others. Tadpoles from the megophryidae subspecies of frogs can grow to 1. 3 inches in length.  The length of a tadpole can be between 1.4 and 4.2 inches on average.

How Do Tadpoles Breathe?

Tadpoles don’t have a fully developed respiratory system at the time of hatching. They, however, have gills that enable them to breathe in oxygen.

What do Tadpoles Eat?

Tadpoles Eating Bread

Tadpoles Eating Bread

Tadpoles are herbivorous aquatic creatures at the time of hatching.  They feed primarily on soft plant matter such as algae, moss, and duckweed. The diet of a tadpole can vary from one frog species to the other. Some tadpoles, for instance, eat a specific type of aquatic matter.

Overly, all tadpoles feed on soft plant matter since they are too tiny to hunt and feed on insects.

Wild tadpoles eat several times a day to get adequate nutrition.  Pet tadpoles eat a wide array of foods. Nonetheless, you have to ensure your pet tadpoles have a herbivorous diet all the time.

Pet tadpoles don’t have access to a wide variety of aquatic plant matter like wild tadpoles. Therefore, your pet tadpoles will rely on vegetables after hatching. Some of the great food choices for pet tadpoles include lettuce and cabbage.

These two vegetables are high in protein and calcium that tadpoles need for faster growth.  However, avoid feeding your tadpoles with an iceberg or romaine lettuce since these two types of lettuce don’t have sufficient nutrients your tadpoles require for optimum growth.

Make sure you boil the vegetables first before giving them to your pet tadpoles. Boling will help soften the vegetables, making it easier for the tadpoles to eat.

Other great foods for tadpoles include green peas, baby spinach, egg yolks, and broccoli. Don’t’ forget to include leafy greens in your tadpoles’ diet. Leafy greens are a rich source of calcium and protein.

Some frog pet owners also buy tadpole food for their tadpoles. If you choose to purchase tadpole food from a pet store, ensure the food is appropriate for your tadpoles according to their age.

For instance, you can purchase food with a label indicating that the food is suitable for six-week-old tadpoles. The problem with tadpole food is that it is high in protein and other processed ingredients.  Hence, it is good to stick to a herbivorous diet while feeding your tadpoles since it is the healthiest diet option.

Are all Tadpoles Aquatic?

Most tadpoles are aquatic since they live entirely in water. Tadpoles can’t survive outside the water like frogs. They will have to remain in the water even after growing froglets.

Some froglets can occasionally hope out of the water, but they can only stay out of the water for a couple of minutes. However, some frog species have terrestrial tadpoles, meaning that such tadpoles can live on land.

Do Tadpoles Have Bones?

Tadpoles don’t have bones at the time of hatching. They, however, have a cartilaginous skeleton. This skeleton eventually grows to a spinal cord as the tadpole continues growing in size.

Can You Keep Tadpoles as Pets?

You can keep tadpoles as pets, the same way you can keep frogs as pets. After all, tadpoles are the young ones of frogs.  Hence, anyone seeking to keep frogs as pets can also keep tadpoles as pets.  Tadpoles are pretty easy to raise. These creatures require less space.

Although they might eat multiple times after hatching, tadpoles eat relatively smaller amounts of food than adult frogs.  Keeping tadpoles as pets is relatively cheap and straightforward.

Thus, this is a significant reason why keeping tadpoles as pets can be an excellent idea for any prospective frog pet owner.  However, tadpoles need a safe and clean environment to thrive well like other pets.  Below are some of the items that you need to keep your tadpoles safe.

– Water dish

as mentioned, tadpoles are aquatic creatures that need to remain in the water all the time to survive.  Therefore, you need a water dish to hold water for your tadpoles.

You can also keep your tadpole pets in an aquarium or a plastic container. Furthermore, you can dig a pond outside your yard for the tadpoles.

– Freshwater

tadpoles may be easier to keep, but they are pretty delicate. Your tadpoles can quickly die if you keep them in polluted water. The harsh chemicals in the contaminated water will ultimately kill your tadpole pets even before they are a couple of weeks old.

Hence, you need to ensure your tadpoles are living in freshwater. Also, ensure the water is clean throughout since dirty water can bring bacterial infections to the tadpoles. Change the water regularly, especially when it becomes cloudy.

– A shady spot

find a shady spot if you are keeping tadpoles outdoors. Direct heat from the sun can affect your tadpoles in the long run.

– Underwater plants

underwater plants are crucial for people who keep tadpoles in outdoor ponds. These plants help with oxygenation, ensuring your tadpoles have a constant supply of oxygen.

– Food

food is also a crucial requirement for tadpoles. You need to feed your tadpole pets with sufficient and nutritious food to keep them healthy and support their growth. Keep in mind that tadpoles are herbivorous, and hence a herbivorous diet will be the best option for the tadpoles.

Consider feeding your tadpoles with pondweed, algae, and lettuce. Alternatively, you can buy tadpole food for your pet tadpoles.

Tips On How to Keep Tadpoles as Pets

Now you understand that you can keep tadpoles as pets. Here are some tips for keeping pet tadpoles in your home:

– Decide where to keep your tadpoles

You can either get an aquarium, an aquatic tank, or a tub. Alternatively, you can dig a small pool outside to house your tadpoles.

– Prepare the base of your tadpoles’ housing

Cover the base of the pond if you are keeping tadpoles outdoors. Also, place a big rock to shelter your tadpoles as they grow from tadpoles to full-grown frogs.

– Provide shade for the tadpoles

Tadpoles need protection from sunlight.  You can cover the tadpoles’ housing with paper or anything that will provide shade.

– Manage the quality of water

Poor water quality can be detrimental to your tadpoles. Hence, keep changing the water to improve its quality. Try using rainwater for the tadpoles since rainwater doesn’t contain harsh chemicals.

Come up with a feeding schedule for the tadpoles

Whatever food you decide to feed your tadpoles with, ensure you stick to a feeding schedule. Don’t keep changing the feeding schedule but be consistent throughout.

If you choose to be feeding the tadpoles in the morning, for instance, ensure you are feeding them every morning until they grow to full-grown frogs.

Keep monitoring your tadpoles

Apart from feeding and providing your tadpoles with clean water, it is also essential to monitor their growth progress.  Without observing your pet tadpoles, you can’t know whether anything is affecting their growth progress.

Warp up

Keeping tadpoles is the surest way of watching tadpoles transforming from tadpoles to full-grown frogs. Again, the sight of tadpoles swimming in the water can be breathtaking.

These creatures are just lovely, and watching them grow can be tremendous. Therefore, consider keeping tadpoles in your home if you are a pet frog lover.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *