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Raising wood frogs, from eggs to tadpoles to adults in 7 weeks

See the development of wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) eggs, captured from a local Manitoba pond and filmed over the course of 49 days. Before releasing them back into the pond a few years ago, Doug Collicutt of Nature North filmed their transformation from eggs to tadpoles to frogs, a 7 week process that occurred from April 30th to June 17th of that year.

Raising wood frogs, from eggs to froglets, is a practical and rewarding classroom project. Eggs are readily available in the spring and with proper care, froglets are ready for release back into the wild by mid-June. With a minimum of materials and time, students can experience one of nature’s most spectacular transformations…

Does removing eggs from the wild hurt local populations of wood frogs? Not likely. Frog eggs and tadpoles are food for many other animals. The chances of any one egg surviving to produce a single adult frog are slim. That’s why frogs produce so many eggs, so at least a few will survive. In nature, local frog populations will vary greatly over time. Long term weather patterns that determine the availability of both spring breeding ponds and food will have the greatest effects on local populations. Raising tadpoles to maturity and releasing them back into the wild may help to raise the local population, or it may just provide more food for birds and snakes. As long as their habitat remains intact, wood frog populations, like all wildlife, will take care of themselves. But be respectful of nature and don’t collect more eggs, tadpoles or adults than you can properly care for! One batch of eggs (4 cm across) may contain 500 or more eggs, enough tadpoles for an entire school!

NatureNorth shares how to successfully keep frogs in the classroom on their site. Also, an important note from Amphibian Ark (pdf):

Before you decide to raise tadpoles, make sure that you understand your state’s laws on collecting wildlife. Some states require a permit to collect eggs or tadpoles, others may not but may limit the number of animals you are legally allowed to take, while other states prohibit the activity altogether. These laws are in place to protect wildlife populations by preventing over-collection, accidental collection of threatened species, and disease transmission. Contact your department of natural resources to learn the applicable laws in your state.

Next, watch cell division in a frog egg, a microscopic time lapse video and Return of the Wood Frog.

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