What happens to the toad tadpoles when summer storms rain down and the river momentarily rages with white rapids?
For a few years now I’ve visited this same river location on our community property and witnessed the before and after tadpole populations and patterns. Typically I will see large pockets of tadpole groupings at specific spots when they all hatch out of the egg casings. Then over time they begin to redistribute and spread out just a bit along the river’s edge or they get caught up in a current and are brought down river just a little ways if there is a gentle rain and slight rising in the water levels.
What I hadn’t done yet was actually go down to the river during a full on storm to observe first hand what was happing at the river’s edge. Recently I had the opportunity to do just this as fate would have it Mother Nature provided a gap in a series of storms so I could skip the torrential down pours or threat of thunder and lightening.
What I discovered was that most of the tadpoles actually stay in place! Serendipitous!
The water levels rise and the river turns into rapids, however the river also widens and the tadpoles end up gently rocking in the river grasses where the water remains only a few inches deep. I’m sure there are some that get redistributed down stream as the populations in pockets do seem to alter after a storm. However, not as many as I had originally thought.
I was so relieved to discover that not all the tadpoles were being tossed about every time a storm came through and now I have this sweet image in my mind of them being gently rocked amongst the river grasses and weathering the storm together.
It is fascinating to me that after five summers of observing this process of the life cycle of the American Toad, here in my neck-of-the-woods, that there is still so much to learn and observe. Exciting and grounding at the same time.
Truly every season simply has so many opportunities to put P.L.A.Y. into action, connecting to nature and my own curious nature too. Love it!
I hope you are taking a moment to make your own P.L.A.Y. discoveries and tap into your curious nature too. Perhaps it is a bird’s nest in a bush outside your front door, walking in a local garden, hiking the same trail at a nearby nature center, or watching cloud and weather patterns right out your window.
Wishing you and yours many P.L.A.Y. days throughout this summer and the seasons ahead!
I’ve had the most success finding toad egg strands for the past few years along the edges of our river once it becomes more shallow in mid-May and all the way through mid-June.
Often there are also side streams of water that form channels and large puddles and if the toads time it just right they can lay their egg strands, have the tadpoles hatch, and become toadlets all before the water dries up in the heat of the summer.
P.L.A.Y.Adventure – Curiosity Time – Part #1
Where are there toads, or frogs, in your area? How would you know?
Depending on the time of year you’ll need to be looking AND listening.
If you’re not sure, check out some resource guides for your local area and then plan a field trip to visit where toads hang out near you! You’re in for a toad-ally awesome treasure treat!
HINT: Be a patient observer and take your time looking along the water’s edge as often the toad egg strands are a bit camouflaged by the silty sand that has collected on them (unless they are freshly hatched strands!)
Where and when can you look for actual toad tadpoles?
P.L.A.Y.Adventure Time – Part #2
The tadpoles near to where I live in Massachusetts hatch in the water at the very end of May in late spring and continue to grow throughout the summer until late August when they change into toadlets and then exit the water heading for the woods as autumn approaches.
Visit this PINTEREST video HERE to see what key nature pieces need to be in place to make a suitable tadpole home (habitat) outdoors. Make a list of what you see by getting curious and asking questions:
Is the water moving or still?
What is on the bottom of the water area?
What is surrounding the pool of water?
Is it shaded or sunny?
Time to take a walk in the woods or in a local nature park on trails to see if you can spy the tadpole habitat near your home. And be sure to continue getting curious and ask even more questions:
What temperature is the air?
What temperature is the water?
Are the tadpoles actively swimming or sitting still?
What other animals are in the water? Salamanders? Snails? Small Fish?
Are their any bird or animal tracks near the water’s edge suggesting there are visitors?
What else did you observe? Record it!
~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK~ ~ ~
The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):
A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book
by Karen L. Willard
Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!