Any gardener worth their salt, which is handy against slugs, knows that you want a few frogs or toads on the property, which are also handy against slugs. One of the best ways to make sure you get an amphibian to take up residence is to get yourself a good stockpile of desired amphibian’s eggs.
So this weekend I am visiting my parent’s house. The weather was warm and balmy (because March is a tease) and my mother decided to muck out her pond. My mother’s pond is rather small but filled with sexually frenzied frogs and this quickly became evident as we filled a 5 gallon bucket with gelatinous frog eggs.
So, Missus Hanna Smarty Pants, how do you know those are frog eggs? Maybe they are toad eggs. Or maybe you have frog and toad eggs in your 5 gallon bucket all mixed up. How do you know? Telling the difference between frog and toad eggs is easy. Frog lay eggs in clumps, toads lay eggs in strings. What I have here is a big ol’ bucket of frog eggs.
Frog eggs tend to creep people out at first. When you find them, they are normally stuck to sticks or logs and have an uncanny resemblance to eating jello while having the flu gone terribly wrong. The eggs will be clear and wobbly and you can see the tadpole inside develop. Depending on the age of the eggs, they may either have large black dots in the center or tiny forming tadpoles. While the eggs may look very fragile, in fact, they are quite resilient and are easy to handle. You can simply scoop them up and move them about as you like.
Which is convenient, as my mother has more frog eggs than she knows what to do with, so we will be taking some home.
Some of these eggs will go in my own pond, while some of them I will keep in the house (and maybe even sharing some with the boys’ classrooms at school. I am sure their teachers will be thrilled). Frog eggs present an excellent opportunity to let my kids see first hand the miracle of life, from egg to adulthood.
For hatching frog eggs, you need to keep a few simple but REALLY IMPORTANT things in mind.
First, the water you put your frog eggs in cannot be tap water. Ideally, frog eggs should be kept in the water from the pond where the eggs were found. But, if that is not an option, any water from a naturally occurring source will do, such as collected rainwater or a pond or stream. Do not use tap water, ever. The chlorine in the water will kill them.
Second, eggs that you find submerged should be submerged in the tank. Eggs you find floating should be kept floating.
Third, aerating the water will improve the eggs’ chances of hatching.
So, this summer, if all goes as planed and I am a good surrogate frog mom (how hard can it be, frog moms abandon their eggs after they lay them) I should have a few slug feasting frogs in my garden.