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Archive for July, 2012

Common Tree Frog

If you’ve not heard, we have a whole lot of tadpoles at home at the moment.  Now one of our little fellas has sprouted front legs!  One day he had none, then one, then suddenly two.  Apparently it ‘pops’ out that’s why the growth seemed to happen so fast.

Starting to climb out of the water

And then I was suddenly filled with worry when I had the thought, “Could these frogs be poisonous?”

It never occured to me to check, and I had no idea what species they were.  Having given away so many of these tadpoles I thought I’d better check properly and share the info.  One thing I did know was that generally, if the frog is bright and colourful it is probably poisonous.  These weren’t.  But I didn’t know whether bright and colourful frogs would also be bright and colourful as tadpoles.

Better check!!!!

So after searching and searching, starting from the unusual frothy foam egg, I’ve identified the species of frogs they are – common tree frogs, also known as four-lined tree frogs.  They are found all over Singapore, the males make a ‘quacking’ sound to attract a female when mating (there we go!  that’s confirmation of the quack!), they build foam nests (ohhh!), and lay 100-200 eggs at a time (yup!).  The tadpoles have a white spot on the snout which identifies the species (yep), and have four black stripes down their back (yes!).

From my searches so far, they are not poisonous.  But I’ve emailed someone from Wildlife Reserves Singapore to double check.

In my enquiry I also asked for advice on what to do with the fully developed frogs.  I was worried that releasing them into ponds could affect the ecosystem.  But seeing as they are “common” tree frogs, maybe that won’t be so much of a problem.  I will keep you posted.

You can read more about common tree frogs at the Wildlife Reserves page, the Wetlands publication, and Ecology Asia.  To hear their quacking call, click here.

For the record, I’m still keeping my frogs and depending on what the wildlife person recommends will evict them when they are fully developed.

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Saw this yesterday and it really made me laugh!

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Shan’s been complaining about a frog that ‘quacks’ at her house.  Seriously, she swears they do.  She’s been on a frog-hunt to get rid of the fella, but her searches come up empty.

Almost.

That frog (or the partner of the frog – yep, if there are eggs there must be two frogs around!) laid eggs in her pond!  By the time I learned about them, they had become tadpoles and I was quite eager to take them home for the kids to see.  Asher was thrilled to have pets.  Then he named them all Sam.  Which makes sense to me, how are we going to tell them apart?

Batch 1 – Week 2: Still quite small

Batch 1 – Week 2: Not taking up much room in the tank yet

I was not aware of how long frogs take to grow and expected them to change much sooner.  So here we are 6 weeks on, and the tadpoles have grown hind legs.

Batch 1 – Week 6: Hind legs clearly visible!

Batch 1 – Week 6: The little legs are so cute

I thought it was great for the boys to see how a tadpole grew into a frog, it was just a pity they couldn’t observe them from the egg stage.  Then, one they when visiting Shan we found another cluster of eggs (much to her annoyance and my joy).  So those came home with me too.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen frogs eggs, but it was certainly my first time.  They were not what I expected.  I always thought they looked like the ‘frogs eggs’ you see in the rose syrup drinks.  But this was a lump of spongy looking bubbles.  I was a little skeptical that the tadpoles would really hatch from that thing, but there was no harm in waiting.

Batch 2 – Day 1: Spongy floating frog’s eggs!

Then true enough out came super tiny tadpoles, the smallest I’ve ever seen!  And if you looked very carefully you could even see the little orange-coloured gills which help them breathe in water before they develop lungs.  I did not know to look out for this until we read a book on frogs.  Since we had frogs eggs and tadpoles, I thought it was a great opportunity to learn about the lifecycle of a frog.

Batch 2 – Day 4: Hatched!

Batch 2 – Day 4: Super tiny tadpoles!

Jon was a little worried that there were too many tadpoles – what would we do with the frogs?  But it didn’t look like too many yet.  Then…the next day even more tadpoles hatched out.  Then I got worried.  There must be at least 130 baby tadpoles now!  No kidding!

Batch 2 – Day 5: Even more!!!!

So, I’m now looking for ways to distribute the tadpoles to anyone who wants to teach their child about the lifecycle of a frog.  The alternatives I’m aware of are not that appealing – throw them away or give them to a fish farm as food for the big fishes (in line with lifecycle but I rather not for now).

It actually takes quite long for a frog to grow.  According to the book we read, 30 days to hatch (ok, this was totally inaccurate for us), grow hind legs at 6 weeks, grow front legs at 10-12 weeks, tail disappears at 12-14 weeks, adult at 1 year.  So you’ll have a lot of time to decide what you want to do with your frog.  In the meantime the kids can watch firsthand how the tadpoles develop.

Yup, so anyone interested in a couple of tadpoles?  One of two frogs is very manageable, but over a hundred?  No way.  And for all you know, these frogs might ‘quack’.  How cool would that be? :)

Batch 1 Wk6 & Batch 2 Day5: Brothers & Sisters

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Doc McStuffins

We went for a preview of the new Disney Junior Series Doc McStuffins at Spruce.  It’s an original new series about a six-year-old girl who acts as the Dr. Doolittle of the toy world.

I actually really like this programme!  The graphics are good – clean, colourful and attractive.  I don’t like cartoons where it seems there is just so much going on, where the graphics look cluttered and messy.  I like the look and feel of this series.

The characters are kinda cute.  There’s Doc herself who has the important job of diagnosing the various ailments afflicting the toys.  More often than not, she ends up calling them something-itis, which is quite funny :)  Some of her other friends include Lambie, a stuffed lamb who’s solution to everything is a cuddle, and Chilly, a hypochondriac snowman

The storylines are tight, and they centre on teaching preschoolers the importance of healthy living.  We watched one episode on the importance of keeping hydrated and I wished Asher could have watched it.  It’s always a struggle to get Asher to drink enough water.  I also like how the series implicitly encourages children to try to fix their toys rather than just dump them.

This is one series I would like my kids to watch!

If you have Starhub cable, you can catch the series everyday at 930am and again at 8pm. 

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