Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Earth Day Present...Little Pee Wee

This past Earth Day, we went to the recycling center to turn in our cans and bottles.

We then headed to one of the local nature centers to appreciate our beautiful Earth.

While we don't get a ton of rain in Southern Cal, this is the *rainy season* so it's nice to see the streams and waterfalls cascading, bringing life to an otherwise dry desert.

This is a path that leads to the waterfall. We were planning on seeing it, but got distracted by the rushing water.

The girls immediately headed down to it and wanted to try to scamper over the rocks and head upstream.

We were blessed to watch this beautiful woodpecker who was excited by what he found in that tree :D

Then we continued on our way.

The water called to the girls and we were delighted to find a little black tadpole swimming about. An earth day present :D

The girls did some light sketching in their nature journal.

We brought the little tadpole home so that we could watch it grow and change into a frog. I am not sure what species it is, but I wanted the girls to experience it and then be able to release it back into the wild. So here's our little guy.

The girls wanted to name him "Pee Wee", after a story I made up for them a couple years ago about a tiny runt frog named Pee Wee who went off into the world to explore, leaving the safety of his pond. Perhaps their dreams of Pee Wee came to fruition with this little one :D

My dad had purchased a bug/frog habitat for them years ago, though I wouldn't recommend it for tadpoles or frogs. It has several design flaws. I didn't send away for the tadpoles because you can't release them into the wild with the different ecosystems - and I wanted to share the joy of the release with the girls. I want this to be something that they come to not only accept, but honor.

So for now, Pee Wee is living quite happily in his little habitat. We did lots of reading on how to care for him and have since placed some real live underwater plants in his tank so that he will have enough oxygen. The tank is way too small for even the smallest air pump.

Every Friday, the girls are drawing a picture of Pee Wee in his habitat, to note the changes he is undergoing. It's been slow and since I don't know what species he is yet, I am not sure if his metamorphosis will take 6 weeks or 6 months. I guess Bull Frogs (which he certainly is not) can take up to 2 years to change!

So I'll post updates on Pee Wee through the weeks. I am hoping he stays happy and healthy so we can give him an amazing send off in several weeks! We had thought about getting a buddy for him, but I want to make sure I've got this down first. So far, he's been with us for 5 days and seems to be doing very well!

If anyone has any advice or has experience raising tads, I'd love to hear any suggestions or feedback you might want to share :D


  1. How great, a real live nature lesson. cheers Marie

  2. What a perfect adventure for Earth Day! Your girls are so beautiful, you can just see how enthusiastic about life and discovery they are. Nice work, mom.

    We raise tadpoles each year, the main thing to remember seems to be, when it is time to change the water; to put out water in the sun for 48 hours before putting your tadpole in it. (But cover it to avoid getting mosquito eggs in it.) We also have about a 60-75% survival rate, so if there is any way you can add a half-dozen tadpoles, you may increase your chances of seeing a frog in the end. Good luck and happy tadpole watching!

  3. Thanks Marie!

    Thank you, too, Homeschool Story! That is good to know that survival rate isn't as high as I would expect. Gosh - I will be prepared, but hopefully he'll do well and make it. The creek he was in stands a good chance of drying up before he'd change so I'd like to think his chances are beter with us than in the wild. We had some bad fires a couple of years ago and there was a huge drop in the number of tadpoles we would see. Gotta get them back up - lol! Anyway, hope you're having fun in France! I'm enjoying following along :D

  4. You can feed them fish food or lettuce..We have had tadpoles for years as well with very low success rates of actually morphing into a frog. We did get a bullfrog tadpole one year without realizing at first what it was, and why was it not changing like the other ones?
    And we too, often find ours in places that will dry up before they will morph.
    I wish I knew more tips for you, we always tried to use water from where we got them if it was possible and not too dirty!

    Love, Carrie

  5. Thanks so much, Carrie! I've been feeding him lettuce that we freeze first and also a bit of soggy dog food for protein (this was recommended, as strange as it sounds). And we've got some crushed algae tablets that I add for him. The pet shop was out of the tadpole food so a lot of people must be raising them since it's spring! Interestingly enough, when they get bigger, they love to eat "bloodworms", which I found out is mosquito larve! So they DO have a purpose after all - lol!

    Anyway, thanks for the tips and I hope our guy will morph eventually ;D


  6. I have been wanting to do this for so long! I even bought a fish tank at a garage sale and then I broke it while cleaning it. We will have to go on the waterfall hike next week to see if we can find some of Pee Wee's cousins.
    I look forward to watching his progress.

    Shauna :)