My tadpoles are growing at a rapid rate, some having already morphed into frogs and left my pond for wider froggy horizons. I hope I retain enough in my garden to sing the chorus I love so well.
The pond experiment has been an edifying one. The tadpole population has proven to be quite diverse. My preferred explanation is that various spawn and tadpoles at different stages of development were washed into the drainage pond where we rescued them from certain death from desiccation. In the wild up to 60% will perish. As the tadpoles grow, it’s become apparent how many different varieties there are. Some tiny and some large, with varied markings and sizes in-between.
Identification became a problem when I could only find pictures of tadpoles or mature frogs, which can look quite different to the morphs. None seemed to correspond with my photos. After posting the photos online and appealing for help, expert advice confirmed the species. Both were types of burrowing frog, but currently as tiny as a baby’s fingernail, they were almost impossible to distinguish. Thank goodness for the zoom feature on my iPhone.
I still have a pond full of tadpoles. Who knows when they will be ready to leave home? Research says it can be up to eleven weeks, depending on the kind of tadpole and the prevailing conditions; or it may even be years for some breeds which can remain dormant underground until the time is just right.
Some of the largest in my pond are the slowest to metamorphose. I’m hopeful these will be the Green Tree Frogs – my favourite. Guaranteed a steady diet of frozen spinach and other vegetables, clean water and no predators, why would they be in a hurry to leave? But go they will and I watch with awe the drama of the amphibian life cycle play out right here in my tiny courtyard.
When I look at the tadpoles, their destiny determined by their biology, their fate influenced by the environment and yes, to some extent by me, I ponder the difference choices make to our own lives, the difference between our destiny and our fate. It’s a perplexing question. I would appreciate any thoughts you may like to offer.
This life is like a swimming pool. You dive into the water, but you can’t see how deep it is.