An energetic (but brief) literature review on natural tadpole mortality rates tells me that 95% of them won’t make it to froghood. But that does little to assuage the feeling of guilt and trauma I’m currently experiencing at the wholesale die off of all four of the tadpoles. How did they go from chipper and nibbling stuff this morning, to bloated belly up by the time we came home? Were they killed by good intention?
The reason I pose this question is because yesterday we introduced two new elements into their environment. One was a water filter, as we wanted to keep the water in good condition for them. The second was an amphibian log, a floating log that they could swim through and eventually climb on to as they developed nostrils.
- Did we not rinse the log sufficiently before we introduced it, leaving trace elements of something that killed them?
- Did the foreign filter stress them out so much that they head the pollywog equivalent of cardiac arrest?
- Did they gorge themselves silly on the pellets and pond plants and that’s why their tummies were so bloated?
- Did they miss their alternative life dodging predators and fighting for food and space and succumbed to co-ordinated suicide?
We’ll never know. The only part I can be thankful for so far is that while Calvin questioned their demise (“What happened?”), he didn’t seem too distraught. That saves him from the guilt I feel and the four homicides on my rap sheet! RIP. I’m sorry :0(