Tiny toads? Frogs? Yeah, frogs.

Whatever they are, they’re in abundance at Pastorius Park!  (And yes, THAT park… we found that if we stay on the FAR side of the pond by the ampitheater, the off-leash dogs don’t hang out there.  I’ll update on the shared people/dogs park ideas I’ve received from readers and locals later this week).  But the kids were in the mood to “fish”, so we grabbed some fishing (butterfly) nets at the dollar store (in Flourtown) and headed over to the pond.  First we got our nets ready.  Just in case you were wondering, this is what two preschoolers do with butterfly nets when left unsupervised:

caught a big one!

So we let that one go and walked around the ampitheater side of Pastorius, hoping to catch some fish.  While we saw some bright orange fairly large fish, they were wise to my noisy crew of fisherpeople and kept their distance.  

But with patience and luck, we caught some tadpoles, watched them flip around in the net for awhile, and then released them back into their murky habitat.  

That was pretty cool, but tadpoles are not all that inherently interesting.  So we were very excited/suprised when we accidentally caught a teensy baby frog/toad.  REALLY excited.  We looked at him (all frogs are boys according to my kids), watched him jump, took pictures, and quickly released him back into the pond.  YAY us!
our first frog!  cute, eh?

We felt quite victorious and outdoorsy.  And then we looked down.

yes, they’re staring at you.

On the cement edge of the pond, there are a kajillion (our official count) tiny frogs. Or toads.  REALLY small and cute and frog-like.  They hang out with their friends and family on the wall right at the water’s edge.  And they swim a perfect breaststroke when they need to cool off.  You can hold about 20 in your hand, even if you’re only 5 years old.

not to show off, this picture only has 4.
Speaking of the preschool crowd, here is five year old “Luke Skywalker’s” account of our discovery:
We were going up to see the frogs, but they were almost transformed.  When frogs are that little, it means they’re one day old.  We went up to the side of the wall of the dog park to see if we could find fish.  We brung nets.  We didn’t catch any fish. We just catched frogs ’cause frogs like a little light where it was sunny and the big frog was in the shade where it wasn’t so light.  We caught a tadpole first.  He didn’t have arms or hands… he just had a back tail and fins.  He was about an inch long.  Then we threw him back.  Then we walked some more to the far away side and we looked on the wall and we just noticed there was ten billion frogs!  They were scared outside of the water on the grass because then they couldn’t breathe very good.  They were less than an inch long and I know because I put one on the paper and I drawed how tall it was with pen.  
And I used a measure tape.  The coolest thing was that they were so small.  I never sawed frogs that small before and they’ll grow into giant frogs when we come back.
this was one of the bigger ones.
frogs, meet your mirror image.
After our trek, we took some amphibian books out of the Chestnut Hill library and learned a few things.  We’re pretty convinced now that the tiny beings are frogs (not toads) since they’re slimy and smooth and prefer to be in our near the water.  But we’re still early in our research phase.  I’m thinking these Lilliputian creatures might be destined to prove Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory, but even if a small fraction grows into frogs/toads, it will be pretty exciting to see.  If you have any expertise to share with us, we would love to hear from you.

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