Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Kennah. Kennah Wonders, “How long does it take tadpoles to turn into frogs?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Kennah!
Do you like frogs? Many kids love to see these tiny creatures hopping around the backyard or a local pond. They're even fun to catch and keep as a pet. One of the most interesting things about frogs, though, is how they begin their lives.
Tadpoles are sometimes known by other names, such as pollywogs, porwigles, or pinkwinks. The word "tadpole" comes from the Middle English word taddepol, which is made up of the words tadde ("toad") and pol ("head").
After hatching from their eggs, tadpoles stay hidden for a while until their gills and muscles begin to grow. Early on, they're very fragile creatures.
As youngsters, tadpoles scrape algae from plants and rocks. As they grow and get older, their gills start to recede into their bodies. Legs develop first, followed by arms. Their tails also begin to shrink and they start to eat dead insects and plants in addition to algae.
When their lungs develop fully, tadpoles can leave the water and live on land as a new frog. New frogs — sometimes called froglets — may have a stubby tail for a little while, but it eventually disappears.
So how long does this process take? Scientists estimate the total transformation from tadpole to frog takes approximately 12-16 weeks most of the time. However, in cold places or at high altitudes, the tadpole to frog can take an entire winter.