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Toad Ode: Episode 1

My tadpole love elicited only wariness from my coworkers. But once the four young amphibians were installed in my office, they became a source of fascination. The first day, they were full-on tadpoles, swimming fully immersed in the water. Next morning, they had rear legs, and you could see their forelegs outlined in their lumpy tadpole torsos. Within hours they had four legs and wandered up the slope of gravel to stand and hop. They immediately began climbing the glass of the tank. It was like watching evolution in hyperdrive.

They were toads with tails. And 24 hours later, they were only toads. Tiny toads. About as big as a dime. They didn’t seem interested in their food: bloodworms. I wondered if their bodies were digesting their own tails or something. The tails didn’t fall off as much as they seemed to simply disappear, perhaps absorbed into their bodies.

FACT: I am not a scientist. I’m just watching the biological drama unfold.

Eventually, they’ll have hot pink/reddish bellies. These are Chinese fire belly toads. My sister had two for years. She believes that one switched genders, Jurassic Park style, and that’s why they mated suddenly this year. She had about 250 eggs, which she raised into tadpoles. She’s donated them to schools and given almost all of them away.

I’ll keep you posted here as they develop.


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