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What Do Tadpoles Eat?

Author : Efrain Silva

What do tadpoles eat? Well, in this crazy time we’re living in, that can still be a question your child may ask, being naive and innocent to many of life’s realities. I know many children in my Sunday School class who have asked the same thing, at my small local church where I volunteer (as a simple way to give back to the community that has given to me for so many years, and make someone’s life better in any small way). Well, what do tadpoles eat? The question remains…..

To start off with, consider this —- a tadpole will eat, at first, what an herbivore will. But then, as it develops and grows older, its taste buds will change a bit, later adapting to those of an omnivore. How many other creatures out there do you know that can change their natural diet like this? Of all the other animals I’ve studied, especially fish, I’d have to say there are very few. And that’s one reason for why the tadpole is indeed so very special, one of God’s unique little beings, as some would say.

But wait…there is more to be noted here….they not only go from herbivores to omnivores, but as they’re fully developed (into full - sized adult frogs), they then become carnivores! So now we’re talking about three very distinct, specific kinds of diets (at least, by the time these frogs grow old and die, they’ll be able to have said that they’ve lived the good life and “eaten it all”). They’ll have eaten everything there is to eat, at least, for a frog. Despite all the research that has been done on the tadpole, in the last 50+ years, get this — experts still claim that they have not fully discovered all that these creatures can eat, the full scope of their diet. Much further study has been requested, which may take at least a couple more decades to fully uncover.

Now, keep in mind : Most of their short lives, they stay as omnivores. This means both plants and animals are good for eating, and they are not the pickiest, making a good, quick meal from whatever is available at the time. They are true survivors. Did you know that they can even eat the yolk sack that comes from their own eggs at the time of hatching? Their instinctual needs here cannot be denied, and they know that eating such sack is actually good for them (not to mention quite rich in the specific kind of protein they need for their proper growth).

After they’ve eaten up all the delicious yolk, of course, that’s when the real adventure begins (and they have to go out into the wild and find other food). If you want to feed your tank tadpoles, give them some plants. Just leave plenty in the tank, and these little guys will come by and eat when they feel the need.