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We Herpetologists

girlsMy girls love creepy, crawly things.  Never mind that Lulu has only recently begun touching cats.  Dogs?  Forget it.  She’s more likely to scale your entire body and perch atop your head if a dog comes within sniffing distance.  Louise, on the other hand, would like to love furry animals, if her sister’s phobia weren’t contagious.  (Parents of closely spaced children, you know how this is.) But give them a roly-poly, an earthworm (even half of an earthworm), any kind of flying insect devoid of a stinger, or any other various and sundry things that make most girls shriek, and they are really, really happy.  Louise played with a garden slug one day a few weeks ago.  It took five minutes of vigorous scrubbing to get the slime off her hands.  Eeeeeeeeew.

It follows that my girls were thrilled when the six inches of water left in my parents’ uncovered, above-ground swimming pool became a tadpole nursery earlier in the spring.  My nephews, the two Es, were proud to show off the babies.

handfulWhat I didn’t anticipate, though, was my girls’ eagerness to get up-close-and-personal with the frogs-to-be.  They loved carrying them around the yard and observing them close-range.

lulu holding square

On Memorial Day, we decided that it was time to bring some of these little ones to the House of Hope.  I mean, if I can’t control the slime factor, I can at least turn it into a educational opportunity, right?  Here was our chance to watch the metamorphosis take place in our own living room garage.  Steady Eddie thought we had an old aquarium out in our storage shed, but we didn’t.  Apparently we got rid of it in a fit of decluttering we have every so often.

These little tadpoles lived happily in the ice cream bucket we used to transport them for several days.  One morning, the girls and I went outside to do a few chores and play, and we found this:

IMG_2160I knew then that these little babies wouldn’t stick around for long in their ice cream bucket home.  Steady Eddie procured a lidded container (with holes in the lid, of course), and all was well.

That is, until I decided that these changelings needed a little sunshine.  That’s right, we went out to play the next day, and I took the little froglets and their new home out and placed them on our driveway, where I left them for the next four hours or so.  In the sunshine.

When Steady Eddie came home from work, he broke the news to me gently that our froglets had perished died croaked.

Obviously my common sense was on summer vacation that day.  I know that water in small container gets hot quickly, especially if said container is transparent plastic.

I was sad, but the girls were rather stoic about this turn of events.  I’m sure it helped that they knew there were plenty more tadpoles where those came from.  Since then, almost all of the tadpoles have metamorphosed into tiny little frogs and escaped their swimming pool home.  I just consider it a great opportunity missed, but I’m sure we’ll have fun in our future nature and science studies with all sorts of creepy, crawly things.lulu holdingI promise to be more careful next time.  🙂 


Maybe I’ll invest in one of these:

frog house

When I saw this book, I couldn’t resist.  😉

The Frog House by Mark Taylor is the fun story of a tree frog who commandeers an apple-shaped birdhouse for his own home.  Just about the time he sets up housekeeping, a series of would-be tenants try to evict the frog from his newly-found home, but the frog manages to dissuade each one.  Barbara Garrison‘s illustrations are beautiful and interesting.  The illustrations are a series of collagraphs which are brightly colored and child-like.  You can view some of Garrison’s collagraphs here on her website.  This looks like an art process that  might be fun to do (in a modified way somehow, no doubt) with children. 

There you have it–a nature study/science post that ends up as a mini book review.  Everything comes back to books for me, it seems.  🙂


3 Responses

  1. I. am. incredibly. GROSSED OUT!

    And I can’t believe they’d choose frogs over dogs!

  2. I agree, Carrie! Frogs don’t bother me (too much), but the tadpoles and SLUGS do. Oh well. I’m really glad they’re interested in all this fun stuff. I just wish Lulu weren’t so afraid of furry critters.

  3. […] the lovely, bright, and kid-friendly illustrations by Alison Bartlett.  I’m sure that our own frog-raising experience  made this book more interesting to us.  I think this book would be a great book to transition into […]

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