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RIP Tadpole Jo

April 22nd, 2005 · 3 Comments

It’s not every morning that you have to tell your children that their pet has died.
I am grateful.

Our tiny tree frog tadpole liked to hide between the rocks at the bottom of the aquarium. It didn’t swim around often. For fear that it would die without us noticing, I would check twice a day, whenever we turned the light on and off, to see whether our tadpole was still alive.

Saturday morning, April 9, when I turned on the light, I noticed that the tadpole wasn’t moving. I found it motionless at the bottom of the tank, beneath rocks. Scooping it out with a spoon, I put it in a cup and tried to figure out how I would tell the girls when they woke up.

The kids took the news okay. We had to go out that morning so I didn’t have a lot of time. I sat them down on the sofa before breakfast. The news wasn’t a large surprise since we were always wondering whether Tadpole Jo, as the girls had named it for gender neutrality, was happy. It hadn’t eaten anything. It lived within the rocks. We worried about it. There were a few tears. I felt upset, that I had failed both my children and the tadpole.

I don’t know if we will get another one. The kids seem to want a fish. I think they are afraid another tadpole would die. I too fear that the tadpole would not survive although I have a list of ideas I would do differently the second time around.

A few days before Jo died, I challenged Ted to try to take a picture of the tadpole. Between the small size of the creature, its movement and the glass and water depth, tadpole became a challenge for photography.

Here’s the best picture Ted took:


Here’s a picture of Tadpole on a slide:


Since we had somewhere to go that Saturday morning, I put Tadpole in a plastic cup on a shelf in the refrigerator so we could look at it later under the microscope. I suppose this is a strange way to live, when one puts pets in the fridge after they are dead, the sure sign of a microbiologist mom (although I have heard a few stories about dead pet rabbits put in the freezer).

However, by the afternoon though the eyes had already started to decompose and no longer looked froglike. Tadpole Jo is missed. The tank sits empty and cleaned on the countertop. I’m not sure we how we will fill it.

Tags: homeschool

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mark A. Hershberger // Apr 22, 2005 at 10:34 am

    I remember when I was a kid we found a whole mess of frog eggs in the woods somewhere. Being the curious sort, we brought them home and put them in an old dis-used cooler in the back yard.

    We had fun watching it over the next few weeks. A good number of the eggs didn’t make it, but many did. They sprouted legs, lost their tail and were gone.

    It was fun to watch. Go get a whole slew of eggs next time!

  • 2 Tamara // Apr 23, 2005 at 11:06 am

    That’s interesting. Are the tails usually like that? Our common ones come to more of a point.

    Our rural zoo gave some away last summer and we raised them to tiny adults until a water change did them in. I think the cats got a few along the way.

    We had better luck with a baby Wood Turtle but we released him before hibernation.

  • 3 Julie // Apr 25, 2005 at 7:56 am

    Mark: thanks. Yes, we did start with 7 eggs but only one hatched. I guess we should get more next time?!

    Tamara: Good point about the tail. I forgot to mention that I think the tail was crushed under the aquarium rocks, either before it died or as I was removing it from the tank. Although the pet store experts recommended the rocks, I’m not so sure they were a great idea. The tail was longer and thinner when it was alive.

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