We had another brilliant evolutionary marvel greet us this morning. Two of our tadpoles made the transformation into froglets last night. We spent a considerable amount of time yesterday peering into the frog habitat looking at the tadpoles and discussing which ones had back legs, which ones were breathing air, which ones still had gills and were breathing water and which ones were the biggest. I assure you that if any of them had front legs yesterday they were hiding them from us and our bug magnifying glass.
This morning I went out to check on them and there were two little froglets in there - complete with big back and front legs! Their tails seem to be getting smaller too, so I'd say the transformation is almost complete. The boys went screaming inside to the house to get Farmer B and show him the froglets.
I'm really glad we put a big rock in their habitat because that's where the two froglets are spending most of their time. As soon as they lose their tails we'll have to release them out into the wild, I suppose. It's sad because I know they'll become bird-bait pretty quickly. Our ditches and ponds are filled with large herons and cranes that pick off froglets and tadpoles all day long. We still have a nice handful of tadpoles who are a bit behind in the metamorphosis process, so we've got more froglets ahead of us.
I read that froglets have a wide mouth an no lips, which enables them to eat insects, worms and even other tadpoles. Egads! It takes most species of frogs 2 to 3 years to grow to their full adult size. I'll admit, I've gotten used to having these guys around. I'd love to have a real aquarium and be able to keep them for just a little bit longer so they could get bigger and have a better chance in the wild, but it looks like their number is up and we'll have to release them pretty soon.
Update: It's nighttime now and the little froglet you see in the top photo is now tail-less. He is 100% frog now and hopping all around the habitat. And I saw a little tadpole cannibalism tonight. I'm feeding them according to schedule, but I guess it's what happens in the whole circle of tadpole life. I gave them extra lettuce though tonight...just in case.