Clever Tadpoles – Keeping Hidden for all this Time

Cryptozoologists claim to have evidence for the existence of mythical creatures or for animals long thought to be extinct.  The word cryptozoologist comes from the Greek (translated it means hidden life).  There are many tales of dinosaurs in the darkest depths of the Congo, or apes as big as chimpanzees in the South American rain-forests.

The staff at Everything Dinosaur, tend to be a little sceptical of such claims but we have witnessed for ourselves how Mother Nature can play tricks, although very much on a smaller scale.

In the pond outside our offices we were delighted to discover back in March (16/03/08) that for the first time that anyone could remember frogs had spawned in it.  This was very exciting for our team members (we don’t get out very much), and anyway in the UK all amphibians and reptiles are protected species.

To read more about our frogspawn discovery:  Frog Blog part 1 – We have Frog Spawn in the Pond.

It was then decided that we would take a photograph every seven days and write about the development of the tadpoles as a weekly blog feature.  Everything seemed to be going fine, the tadpoles developed quickly in their jelly and in a couple of weeks or so they hatched.  Then to our surprise the tadpoles disappeared.  By 8 weeks into the project we had to abandon the weekly web log feature, no tadpoles could be seen.  The last reported sighting we had was on April 29th when a single tadpole was spotted.

To read the last frog blog entry:  Frog Blog (week 8) and then there were none.

We were most upset at this turn of events.  Naturally, we expected some predation and we knew that most of our tadpoles would not make it to the froglet stage, but to have them disappear in just a few days was quite distressing.  That was that, or so we thought…

At last week’s team meeting preserving any future frog spawn was actually on our meeting agenda.  We are a fairly unconventional company at the best of times, but there must be very few businesses in the world who give up time to consider how best to protect any future tadpoles should any more frog spawn be laid in subsequent years.  A number of ideas were put forward, the one we agreed on was the proposal to utilise a more isolated and separate pond to create a sort of mini lagoon.  We could circulate water between the two sites using a small pump and to net this area off (to protect the tadpoles from bird attack).  Quite a convoluted plan, but we thought it would probably offer any future tadpoles the best protection.

However, this afternoon, to our surprise, a colleague reported seeing a large, well-developed tadpole in the pond.  He described the tadpole as having a large head but with no discernible limbs, he got a quick glimpse of it before it disappeared into a clump of algae.  Not that we wish to doubt our colleague, but no sign of any tadpoles had been seen over the previous 69 days.  What is more, the pond is approximately 8 feet by 5 feet wide and shallow enough to see the bottom.  It is hard to believe, but despite us all taking regular breaks and sitting by the pond (mainly to watch the frogs and to observe the water-boatmen), the tadpoles seem to have avoided detection.

We are going to start regular observations once again and a reward of first choice of biscuits for a week has been offered to the first member of staff who can produce proof that tadpoles still exist in the pond.  It seems that even, tiny ponds can hide one or two secrets and keep us on our toes, not surprising therefore that stories of bizarre monsters and living dinosaurs seep out of some of the remotest corners of our planet.

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