Tadpole Observation (A Cautionary Tale)

In early spring the frogs gathered by the hundreds in our small pond and spent a very noisy weekend engaging in…well, you know. Think Woodstock, 1970s, lots of free love and partner swapping. Egg upon egg upon egg was floating in the water. It was so remarkable I had to photograph it. See an earlier post here.

Really, it was a bit ridiculous.

I swiped a few eggs for observation and we watched tiny tadpoles hatch and devour algae and leaf litter in a tank set up in the office. We’d keep them for a few days then dump them back in the pond to experience bigger digs. Rinse and repeat. We’re on the fourth or fifth tadpole infusion here.

Except this time, I scooped something else up too. Leeches. A lot of leeches.

We’ve seen a few tadpoles in the pond with a leech attached to them, but they seemed just fine. The leech would glean a blood meal and off they’d go, right? All knowing Google told me the leeches in my pond primarily ate the detritus in the muck at the bottom.

Google was very wrong.

Last night we noticed a tadpole in the tank had a leech on it. And then 2 and then 4…and I didn’t want to try and remove them because I thought detaching them might injure the poor guy more.

Checked on the little guy this morning and there was nothing left of him but some translucent skin and a dark green little mouth. Looks like they saved the lips for last. Ugh. Shiver me timbers.

2 thoughts on “Tadpole Observation (A Cautionary Tale)

  1. Wow! Incredible! I still think all was not lost here though. This is extremely educational for your daughter. This is all part of nature, right? Yes, gross, but still–wow!!

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