There Are Tadpoles on the Kitchen Floor

As a mother, there are things that you just can not anticipate. Take this morning for example.

“Mom!” My daughter yelled, “There are tadpoles on the kitchen floor.”

The worst part was I knew I had only myself to blame. You see I had promised my kids that we would go on a picnic to a small city park near our home. The big attraction for this park is the small pond. To me, the pond looks like a scum-covered tick and mosquito haven. To my kids it looks like a destination from National Geographic. It is like a small jungle only a few blocks from our house.  It is a place to sail boats, spot fish, (yep, fish live there), pick dandelions, chase bugs and catch frogs. In short, a kid’s paradise on earth.

The driving purpose for this week’s visit was frog catching. And so we went on our picnic appropriately equipped with sandwiches, fruit, water bottles, a blanket and a large aquarium net.

My daughter got the first turn with the net and quickly netted a frog.

This was followed closely by a giant tadpole.

Not one to be out done by his little sister, my son spent the first ten minutes of his turn with the net in an unsuccessful attempt to catch a fish.

Finally he gave up on the fish and went after some frogs as well.

Just as we were about to leave, he made the discovery of the trip, tiny little tadpoles that looked to have just hatched in the slime and weeds at the edge of the pond. There were hundreds of them.

So many, in fact, that you could scoop them up with your bare hands.

The aquarium net was quickly abandoned in favor of their water bottles, and each of them returned home last night with 23.7 Fl. Oz. of pond water and tadpoles.

Unfortunately, water bottles do not make the most stable of tadpole homes, and tiny tadpoles are very difficult to pick up off the floor. My son discovered both of these things this morning when he spilled some of his tadpole/pond water on the kitchen floor.  We managed to scoop them into a large puddle and then onto a piece of plastic and back into the water bottle. Hopefully they will survive their adventures.

This isn’t the first time we have captured tadpoles from this pond. I love doing things like this with my kids. They get so excited watching the changes, they don’t even realize that they are learning at the same time. They learn what tadpoles eat and what frogs eat. We talk about their life cycles and what kind of environment they need to live in. All the while they think that they have the coolest Mom ever for letting them keep their “pets” for several weeks in their rooms.

Last time we took home two of the giant ones, watched them develop into frogs and then turned them loose. I am pretty sure that they were bull frogs.

This year we will be raising an uncountable number of these tiny ones.

I’ve no idea what kind they are. Time will tell I guess.

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Kelly Grooms

Kelly Grooms

Scientific Communications Specialist at Promega Corporation
Kelly earned her B.S. in Genetics from Iowa State University in Ames, IA. Prior to coming to Promega, she worked for biotech companies in San Diego and Madison. Kelly lives just outside Madison with her husband, son and daughter. Kelly collects hobbies including jewelry artistry, reading, writing and knitting. A black belt, she enjoys practicing karate with her daughter as well as hiking, biking and camping.


  1. I am glad you liked it Kari. It has been fun to watch the kids get all excited about tadpoles and water striders and all the things I remember loving about a summer visit to a pond.

  2. While I definitely agree getting them from another ponder or in the wild is the cheapest and for many the easiest solution, there are some places on the web that sell them. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any that are cheap. I got most of mine from a local area wetland where they reappear every spring, but I wanted to get some bullfrog tadpoles also, so I ordered those off the web. They’re around $20 for a dozen (they’re big, so a dozen is a good start for a small pond) at Berkshire Biological All of them arrived healthy and are doing fine, one even had legs. William Tricker also sells smaller ones, but they’re very expensive considering you’d probably want alot more than a dozen of a smaller variety. My larger pond gets them naturally every year, but I usually need to add them to the smaller preformed pond I have. One other comment on tadpoles, even the smaller ones…I’ve witnessed them eating some of my water plants even though they supposedly only eat algae and other debris. They chewed my mosaic plant apart along with some water snowflakes. They also got my sensitive plant (had to move it to another pond to recover) and love duckweed (they eat the root off). They haven’t really done any permanent damage, but they will eat plants sometimes (these were the tiny ones, not bullfrogs)…Hope that helps!

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