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madeve
30th January 2009, 00:07
I got this story from my step-son's second grade reading book (Louisiana Reading Street). It seems to be a bit inaccurate, correct me me if I'm wrong.

Frogs by Gail Gibbons

What will you learn about frogs that you didn't know before?

It is springtime at a pond.
A jellylike cluster of eggs floats among the waterweeds at the pond's surface. These eggs are the beginning of ... frogs.
A breeze ripples the surface. The floating clump of eggs is called frog spawn. Frogs lay their eggs in water or wet places. Otherwise, the eggs could dry up and die.

These eggs do not have shells. They are inside jellylike coverings. As they float, the jelly lets the sun's warmth come through to the eggs inside. Not all eggs will survive.
Most of the time the large and slimy mass of eggs is too slippery and too big to be eaten. This is nature's way of protecting them. But some of the smaller clusters of eggs will be eaten by creatures living in or near the pond.

The dark centers of the eggs slowly grow into frog embryos. The embryos grow until they look like small tadpoles. Tadpoles are frog babies. As they grow, they feed off their own egg yolks.
The tadpoles grow until they are big enough to break free into the water. It can take from three days to three weeks for this to happen, depending on what kind of frogs they will become.

One by one the tadpoles hatch from their eggs. They each have a head, tail and body. The tadpoles wiggle their tails to swim.
The tadpoles breathe by getting air from the water through feathery outside gills. As they swim, they eat very small plants that stick to larger water plants. These tiny plants are called algae.

One week later the tadpoles look different. They are bigger. Their gills begin to shrink. A flap of skin slowly grows over them. The tadpoles' mouths become hard with tiny teeth in their upper jaws.
Now the tadpoles are one month old. Their outside gills have disappeared. New gills inside the tadpoles take oxygen from the water. Their tail are wider for stronger swimming. Something wonderful begins to happen. At the base of their tails, bulges appear. This is where their hind frog legs are growing.

At two months old the tadpoles dart about the pond as they eat. They are still vegetarians. Vegetarians only eat plant life. The tadpoles get bigger. Now they have hind legs. Behind their heads bulges appear where their front legs are growing.
Their tails become smaller. The tadpoles' gills inside their bodies are gone. They have grown lungs to use for breathing. Now and then, they wiggle to the surface to breathe air.

The tadpoles are about three months old. Again, they look different. They have front legs. Their tails are even smaller. They have shed their tad[pole skin and lips. At last, they have the wide mouths of frogs.
The tadpoles have become tiny frogs. They climb out of the pond and onto the land. Their tails will become smaller and smaller until they finally disappear. The tiny frogs begin to eat insects and worms. They aren't vegetarians anymore.

Frogs are amphibians. The word amphibian comes from a Greek word that means "two lives". An amphibian can live on land or in the water.
Frogs are cold-blooded. That means that their inside body temperatures are about the same as the outside temperature. During the next few years, the tiny frogs will grow to be mature frogs. Then they will be able to make their own frog spawn, and there will be new baby frogs.

Frogs don't hunt for food. Their big eyes are on top of their heads so they can see all the way around. They stay very still. When something flies or crawls nearby, their long sticky tongues dart out to catch it. They swallow their food whole.
Frogs that swim use their powerful hind legs and webbed feet to push them through the water. Frogs have two sets of eyelids. One set is transparent so they can see through them. When frogs dive, they close these eyelids to protect their eyes.

On land, the frogs hop about. They use their very strong hind legs to leap. Most frogs can jump ten times their body length. They are wonderful jumpers!