Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The tadpole crisis

I am responsible for multiple little lives.

Here they are:

Aren't they lovely?


I guess you're not seeing the appeal of having an old ice cream tub filled with manky water sitting on the side in your kitchen for weeks.

Nor am I to be honest, but it's not that that's stressing me out.

It's the responsibility.

What if they die?

To be honest I'm not sure I could tell a dead tadpole from a live one, most of the time, but you can bet the children can, and will, and then they'll look at me:

Mummy, why did you let them die?

The responsibility is terrifying:

Do you change the water?
Should I fish them out with a sieve first?
How do I clean the sieve after?
Can I use tap water?
And if I can't do I really want to risk my life trying to get some tadpole friendly water out of the river?
Do I feed them?
Are there seriously people (thanks Internet, no really) who will carefully boil lettuce to feed it to tadpoles?
Am I really supposed to do that?
And what about the ones that don't hatch?

Then there are the moral implications:

Should I have them in the first place?  They're wild animals. Ish. They came, unhatched (do tadpoles hatch?) from my Mum's pond, carefully transported north in a jam jar. Ripped from the only home they knew (I may be anthropomorphising them too much.).

And what do I do with them in the end? I'm not just responsible for them while they're under my roof.  I took them, I raised them, I've got to look after them.   But where?  I can hardly stick a bunch of tiny frogs in the Tweed; I don't imagine they'd enjoy the trip to the North Sea.  But the nearest pond I know of is several miles away and I'm not sure they'll be so amenable to the jam jar method of transportation when they've got legs.

But if I put them in the wrong place they'll die. And I'll feel guilty forever (still haven't forgiven myself for releasing the carefully-nurtured butterflies into a hailstorm...). And what if they're the sort of amphibians that return to where they were spawned? How're they going to get from here to Essex? Or is that toads?

Like I said. The responsibility is stressing me out.

Just think what I'd be like with a dog...


  1. Time to buy a pond, H.

    1. Given that my trampoline is currently in two pieces in the flower bed, the next hole I dig will be for that.

      No ponds.

  2. I honestly thought these were sperm until I read further down!

    1. And blogger honestly thought your comment was spam!

  3. Replies
    1. An excellent idea if we want to educate them in what Elton would call the Circle of Life.

      But you can tell them...

  4. The tadpole crisis part 2:

    It turns out I do know what a dead tadpole looks like after all.

    Feeling guilty, sad, and a teeny bit relieved of the worry.

    Now what do I do with them?!

  5. Lesson for the future:

    Next time someone presents your children with a jam jar of frog spawn and says "Would you like to take this home?", be brutal.

    Just say no. Despite the pleading.

  6. DON'T get a dog... is all I'm saying.

    Are you going to have a tadpole burial service in the garden?

    1. For "garden" read "compost heap"...

      Ps what's Hector done?


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