A Tadpole Tale


Good morning Everyone!

Kayla’s elementary school has a unique feature:  a rock garden pool.

Rock Garden 3

When we have a heavy rain the day before, the boundary of the pool slips ever so slightly out of its bounds onto the rocks as well, and then over the next day slowly recedes back into its normal boundaries.

Rock Garden 2

A couple of weeks ago, the water was receding over the rocks when Kayla and her friends discovered a swarm of tadpoles that were caught in a puddle on the rock and which would soon die.  Kayla collected empty water bottles from her friends, punched holes in the lids, filled the bottles with the pond water and proceeded to catch several tadpoles for each of her friends, including herself.  She told me her friends were calling her “The Tadpole Whisperer.”  She also presented me with the algae-and-tadpole ridden water bottle that was hers and informed me that she was going to take her six tadpoles and raise them into frogs.

Now, let’s back track just a minute.  As many of you may recall, we have three “inside” dogs:

Dog

Tyra

Mandy, awakens from a nap

Mandy

Dog, Labrador Retriever

Darwin

Ever since Dog #3 was admitted into our home, Kayla has been repeatedly told that we will have no other pets, not even a goldfish, entering the house.  (This wise rule has prevented sustained arguments over rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, ferrets, goldfish, aquariums, mice, baby squirrels, etc.)

When she presented the algae- and tadpole-ridden water bottle to me, I reminded her of this rule.  She informed me, absolutely seriously, that the no-pet rule didn’t count here because she would merely be fostering them until they turned into frogs.  Thinking that such a fine argument deserved at least a little credit, I told her she could bring the bottle home, but that she needed permission from both Mark and I to keep the tadpoles until they were frogs, and that I didn’t really think it was likely she’d be able to keep them.  (I also started doing a mental inventory in my mind of the multitude of aquarium-related equipment we’d need for this to be a success and decided that it was not going to be cost-effective, either.)

Rock Garden 1

Sure enough, once the tadpole bottle made it home and an inventory of the effort and effect of raising the six tadpoles was completed, Kayla was told that her tadpole project was a no-go and the tadpoles would have to be disposed of.

tadpole, bull frog

Bull frog Tadpole, Photograph from the U.S. Geological Survey and therefore part of the public domain

Kayla took it well and that was the end of it.

Or at least it should have been.  Now we come to the part that annoys me – I just couldn’t dump the tadpoles either down the toilet or onto the pavement. I just couldn’t.  Even though logic told me that 1) the tadpoles should have died on the rocks at the school anyhow , 2) even if they didn’t, the odds of any one of them living to be a frog were infinitely small and 3) if  they had been spiders or insects I would have stomped on them (or had Mark do so) without hesitation, I just couldn’t dump them out without at least a chance at life.  Nor could I just return them to the rock pool, since I gauged their chances of success there almost as slim as if I poured them out on the driveway.

Mark didn’t really understand it either, but since he loves me and Kayla he graciously gave us a couple of more days to allow me to have time, finally, on my lunch hour to carry the tadpoles to an offshoot of Lake Martin near our house where I could release them.

It is a testimony to Kayla’s skills as a tadpole catcher and feeder that all six of the little things were still alive when I released them in a quiet, warm, still section of the lake.

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

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