What are tadpoles and what do they eat?

What are tadpoles?

Skip to: What do tadpoles eat?

Frogs are probably found everywhere. Kids are particularly fond of them as they jump and hop through the water and rain. They have a great time catching the tiny animal. Have you ever thought how they are born? Well, the secret is almost out in the following paragraphs. Let’s find out their genesis and process of evolution.

what are tadpoles
A group of tadpoles

Déjà vu butterflies:

Like the butterflies, frogs do not give birth to the young ones as they are not mammals. In fact, they lay eggs which after some days metamorphose into tiny organisms called tadpole. Eggs find suitable environment inside the water and get hatched quickly. Small tadpoles or pollywogs as they are fondly called eventually grow up into big frogs. The name is derived from toad and head.

Also read: How to raise tadpoles at home?

Frogs often lay eggs in groups in places where the current in the water is no existent.

Under hibernation:

After proliferating from the egg, the tadpoles hibernate for while so that their muscles and gills are developed. It is an important step because the organs help in the movement of the body and also breathing under water. Initially, the tadpoles are very fragile and extremely vulnerable to attacks by the predators. The hibernation period consist of spending time by sticking with the weed floating in the water. It uses the stick organ lying between the mount and the belly region.

Appearance of the tadpole:

Generally, the tadpole is identified by a long tail which is also its back leg. As it reaches adulthood, the front long grows gradually. One of the primary differences between the adult frog and tadpole is that the latter has warty skins while the former has smoother version. Tadpole has earthy color and it resembles more like a fish. Speckles and spots could be seen all over the body. Moreover, you can also spot 4 rows of teeth in the organism. While transforming into a frog, the tadpole stops consuming food and absorbs the nutrition from its body for growth.

Mechanism of breathing:

A tadpole cannot breathe on land as its skin is unsuitable to facilitate breathing. It can only perform the task with the help of gills which gradually die away during the adulthood period. A fully grown up frog can seamlessly live on land and in water.

Pace of development:

The transformation of tadpole to frog might require 6 weeks to 3 years. According to the experts, the total time duration varies from one species to another. In addition, the growth should occur in wild rather than captivity. Tadpoles are super sensitive towards the chemicals in water. Presence of chlorine can kill them quickly.

Also read: How tadpoles turn into frogs?

Majority of tadpoles grow up in 12 weeks. As it reach adulthood, the tail becomes short and it is transformed into a miniaturized form of an adult frog.

Primary behavior:

Tadpoles are akin to fish; therefore they swim together in ponds and lakes. Once the muscles develop during adulthood, they tend to jump from one place to another. After becoming adult, it would leave the water till the next return for laying eggs.

What do tadpoles eat?

Raising the tadpole demands skill and lots of knowledge about the tiny organism.  Before watching it grow into a big frog, you should take care of its feeding requirements. The coiled intestines of tadpole make it suitable for the digestion of the plants. Let’s take a look at its dietary habits and the nutrition that would help it to grow faster and healthier.

what do tadpoles eat

Green plants and vegetables:

Lettuce, spinach and green grapes can be good fodder for the tadpole. Prior to feeding the young ones, make sure that greens are thoroughly cleaned for dirt can cause infections and deaths. In addition, they should be cut into small parts for easy digestion by the tadpoles. Do not buy vegetables from the market but try to grow the homemade stuff as it is quite healthy and doesn’t contain artificial chemicals. Pet owners can use lettuce by cleaning and boiling them for some time. Later on, you can freeze and cut them for feeding the tadpoles.

Requirement of protein:

Tadpoles require protein when they are hatching out from the egg clusters. Over a period of time, the young ones feed on its yolk sac to grow. Protein sources are also required when the legs of the tadpoles are growing. It should be administered twice in a week. One can take the leaves from the creek near the house and place them in the container. The tadpoles feed on the algae and also hide beneath the greenery.

Requirement of calcium:

Tadpoles may also require calcium as it plays a very important role in enhancing the endurance of the tiny critters. You can purchase the liquid supplement from the market or use a cuttle bone that should be placed inside the housing for the total duration of the tadpole development. Whenever the water is changed, two drops of calcium liquid should be added to the mix.


You can purchase the special food online for the tadpole. They are available according to different health formulae and provide impeccable growth as well as development. Diet consists of essential nutrients to keep the young ones healthy. Vegetable flaks can be a good option for the tadpoles as they facilitate seamless metamorphosis into adults. Proper dietary regime prevents the occurrence of the complications and the premature death of the tadpoles.

Also read: How to take care of tadpoles?

Things that you should not feed to tadpoles:

One should not feed meat, chicken pellets or animal food. They can cause long term harm to the tadpoles and will create problems during the development process.

Quantity of feed:

Rather than stuffing up the tiny organism with large amount of food stuff, it is vital to feed the tadpole with small amount of food frequently. It will not only help in digestion but also avoid unnecessary complications. The young critters will not be able to consume large amount of food and it can lie idle inside the water leading to the proliferation of bacteria.  Tadpoles rarely feed on blood worms in spite of them being rich source of proteins.

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Watch video: How and what to feed tadpoles

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