Are you looking into keeping an amphibian pet? Well, I will get you started on caring for baby amphibians. But first, what are baby amphibians called?
Tadpoles, baby amphibians, are aquatic larvae that hatch from fertilized frog eggs. The cycle starts when a female amphibian lays eggs in still water. The jelly-like covered eggs hatch into legless tadpoles with tails. Tadpoles are fully aquatic with external gills. They will only develop legs and lungs when ready to leave the water and land.
You can buy a live frog tadpole and raise it as your pet. Below, I will discuss everything you need to know about tadpoles.
Building a habitat for your tadpoles
So, if you want to purchase tadpoles from a pet store, you must understand where they live. Tadpoles are strictly aquatic. Therefore, you will likely buy a tadpole in a vivarium already. You can also use an aquarium for your tadpole.
At the same time, do not put a couple of tadpoles in a fishbowl. Due to their fast-developing nature, tadpoles have a high metabolism rate. Instead, a pond provides a more natural habitat, especially for the large tadpoles.
An outdoor tank is the best choice for tadpoles. It must have submerged plants to match their natural habitat.
However, the habitat might change as the baby amphibian develops into a fully grown frog. It is because different frogs, toads, and newts require different habitats. For instance, your baby amphibian could evolve into a dry land species. It would mean changing the vivarium setting ultimately.
Well then, I suggest you do some research.
What do baby amphibians eat?
So, you are all set, but wait, what will you feed your tadpole? Unlike a growing frog, tadpoles cannot eat crickets or hunt on dry land. So, in the natural habitat, tadpoles feed on water plants in the pond. These could include tiny algae and even mosquito larvae in the water. I insist on placing the vivarium outdoor so the mosquito can lay eggs in the tank.
In the tadpole tank, ensure enough submerged water plants provide food. At this stage, tadpoles require a lot of nutrients and feed. In a natural habitat, tadpoles will feed on others that have died.
How long do tadpoles take to transform into frogs?
Tadpoles will take up to 14 weeks to become froglets. Once again, this will depend on the species. For instance, toads will take over two months to become baby toads. This transformation will happen very quickly.
It will take 24 hours for your tadpoles to develop legs and other features. The rear limbs will develop first, followed by the front legs. The tail will shrink and shed as the tadpole becomes a carnivorous being.
However, tadpoles can control their metamorphosis process! For instance, if the weather is too cold, tadpoles can take up to a year to transform. Well, isn’t that amazing?
However, in an uncomfortable environment, for instance, with little food, they will transform faster to escape the harsh climate.
Fun fact: Did you know that some frogs will feed their tadpoles unfertilized eggs?
What happens after baby amphibians transform?
As I have mentioned above, transforming from a tadpole to a growing frog is fast. Once the tadpole sheds the tail and grows limbs, they immediately adapt to its natural habitats. Now you can set up a terrarium for your frog(s).
The type of terrarium you set up depends on the species of your frog. For instance, if your frog is semi-aquatic, it would help if you had the tank divided into two; a dry land setting and an aquatic setting. This will match your frog’s natural environment.
Set up a water dish for your frog. I insist on using distilled water since your frog will submerge itself in the water. Remember, these tiny amphibians have permeable skin that will absorb any germs into their body.
Taking care of a growing frog does not require constant supervision. However, as with all the other pets, please do not leave them alone for too long.
They will need to feed at least every day. Use crickets and mealworms for the growing frogs. Cut the food into tiny pieces to prevent your frog from choking. You will also need to remove the uneaten parts of food from the terrarium to keep it clean.
Some of the foods that your growing frog enjoys include;
- brown crickets
- black crickets
- Dubai Roaches
You can also consider adding vitamin supplements to your diet. These will help enhance your frog’s growth.
What you need to know before getting a frog
So far, you have learned everything about baby amphibians. It is unlikely that you will adopt tadpoles for a pet. Most pet stores will have developed frogs in stock. However, are you sure you want to keep a frog?
Frogs are better pets for older children and adults than small children. Understand that this is a hands-off pet that you are bringing home. It means that you won’t handle your pet. At the same time, a lack of quality food for a frog can be challenging.
Only purchase gut-loaded insects for your frog. If this is not an option, you can also feed the insects at home before providing them to your pet.
Ensure that you have access to a reptile specialist for the vet check-ups. Frogs will rarely contract illnesses when taken care of well. However, if you need to handle your frog for any reason, wash your hands thoroughly or use latex gloves.
Frogs are interesting pets. They are quiet, and all they will do is hop. Most of them are nocturnal, hence increased activity at night. You can purchase one from the pet store or local rescue if you want from pets. At the same time, you can raise your frog from tadpoles.