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Frog Pond Study Plus a Rattlesnake Friend

Our first attempt at a tadpole/frog study was unsuccessful. We visited my dad’s pond and could  not scoop up any tadpoles but we did get some great insect larvae to observe in the pond water sample. We brought them home in a bucket and used our pond field guide to try to identify them.

Edit to add: I was told this is not a Mayfly but a Damselfly so I will be off to do some more research….now you will understand why I say I should take Eva’s free entomology course down below. 🙂

Meet the Mayfly….which we learned are called naiads during their aquatic stage. (This is an image of a dead one I found lodged in my net.) They live in ponds, lakes, or streams for up to several years. They molt 20-30 times during that period of time. The most interesting thing about Mayflies is their short lifespan for adults- only a few hours to a few days, depending on the species. We actually observed an adult Mayfly that landed on my dad’s shirt while we were observing the pond. What a great insect to learn about!

Even if we didn’t find any frogs on this outing, we sure enjoyed our time just being outdoors at the pond.

As a sidenote: I think we need to take Eva’s Introduction to Entomology course that she is offering on her blog Academia Celestia. It is a free six week online course in a subject she is highly knowledgeable in and is passionate about. If your family is looking for a way to learn more about insects…click over and see it this would work for you.

We took a second trip to the local walking trail where I had observed some frog’s eggs earlier this month. Success! There were hundreds of tadpoles but I didn’t get a single decent image…the one below is the best I was able to get with all the reflections but if you look closely you will see some dark tadpoles swimming in the water.

We will continue to observe these critters in the weeks to come…easy to do since they are on the side of our usual route on the walking trail.

I highly recommend this Golden Guide to Pond Life. We have always been able to identify any creatures or plants we found at Grandpa’s pond using this simple field guide. Great beginning guide for young ones!

There are affiliate links in this entry. 

 Rattlesnake Video on YouTube….
My husband and I took a hike to the river on a glorious day last weekend. The grass was green, the wildflowers were amazing, and the sun was warm….perfect day for a spring walk through the Northern California foothills.

I was sort of worried about the possibility of encountering snakes but we were keeping a close eye out. I had stopped a few feet off the trail to look at some metallic insects on a wildflower stem. I was trying to get a really close look and then I stepped backwards to the trail. My husband immediately started yelling  that he saw a snake….startling me and making me scream. The snake was right by my feet….a really big rattlesnake!

He pulled me out of the way and the snake moved across the trail over to the other side. I (of course) pulled out my camera and started taking a video. That is what you see in the video above….me still all shaky and out of breath capturing this huge old rattler as it slithers into the tall grasses but not without showing us his extremely long rattle.

We ended up seeing three snakes that day, one rattlesnake and two gopher snakes. Just in time for reptile month!

So have you seen any reptiles in your area yet?

6 thoughts on “Frog Pond Study Plus a Rattlesnake Friend

  1. Thank you for the link to the entomology study. I know my kids will want to participate in that.

    We are enjoying the reptile study and look forward to spending a little time by a stream we have noticed (but not stopped to examine). I don’t know if we will find tadpoles, but we will go out next week to look.

  2. We visited a pond this week too, but most of it was still covered by ice. It’s so nice to see your photos!

  3. Yikes! those are some amazing photos and video. The snakes must have thought it was a nice day to be out too!

  4. I really enjoy your articles and ideas for involving families in nature study. Thanks for sharing! As an FYI, the insect in your photo (the dead one found in your net) is actually a damselfly nymph, not a mayfly.

  5. Damselfly similar to dragonfly can be identified when sitting its wings rest behind it a dragonfly’s wings rest out. The aquatic stage they are called water nymphs.

  6. We have a wetland/vernal pool area on our mountain ground. This year there has more wood frog egg clusters(>100 clusters) than last year. Also have seen 6 spotted salamander egg clusters. We brought 2/3 of a wood frog egg cluster home. This morning I counted 627 tadpoles. Hope to release all but 6 back in the pool tomorrow.

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