It's tadpole season at my house! Yesterday, I saw 2 American Toads mating in my pond. So, this morning I went out to check on the situation, and sure enough there were eggs! Every year I gently scoop as many as I can out of the pond. I have a lot of fish in there that would just view them as Skittles.
Toads can lay between 4000-8000 eggs. Why so many? Most do not survive. They either get eaten by fish...or each other. When tadpoles are tiny, they will eat the algae in the pond. When they get a little larger, they will eat little insects, and even become cannibalistic. Yes, I've witnessed it many times. I have to put rocks in the tank that toadlets can climb up on to for protection because once they start to get limbs, that's something tadpoles can easily grab on to. Once they start climbing, I release them back into my garden. Out of the 1000s of eggs that have hatched in my tank over the years, the highest number of toadlets that were released in a season was 69. And, even their chances of surviving to adulthood is not that great. So, there are no worries that we will soon be taken over by a plague of toads.
The main reason I do this, is so my grandchildren can watch this process up close, and will hopefully grow to love, and appreciate nature. Those who love it, will save it
The male will have a locked grip on a female. This type of mating is called 'amplexus'
Two, long, gelatinous, spiral strings of counter-shaded eggs will be released into the water. Each egg is black on one side, and white on the other. This helps them to not be seen as easily by predators.
When they hatch, they will first eat the gelatinous string they were in.
use plastic plants in my pond. Algae clings to it, that the tadpoles will hungrily eat.