Who is eating the tadpoles in your pond?
Tadpoles as food
Many animals get energy from eating other animals. When one animal eats another it is called a predator. The animal that is eaten is called the prey.
Many animals eat frogspawn, tadpoles and baby froglets leaving the pond. The animals that eat the tadpoles are their predators. Tadpoles are therefore the prey of these animals. Click here to play a tadpole game, where you have to eat as much as you can and avoid being eaten by predators in the pond.
Some examples of tadpole predators are listed below.
- Birds will eat tadpoles, such as this kingfisher with a tadpole in its beak.
2. Other pond life, including this great diving beetle and its larvae will hunt and eat tadpoles.
3. Other pond life such as the dragonfly and damselfly larvae below (also called nymphs).
3. Newts, like this smooth newt in the picture below will gobble up tadpoles if present in a pond.
4. Fish will also eat tadpoles, for example young pike, sticklebacks and minnows in rivers in the UK.
If you have fish in your pond don’t expect to see any froglets leaving the pond, as all the tadpoles will be likely to be munched!
As you can see, many animals like to eat tadpoles! That’s why the female frog needs to produce so many eggs. Click here to learn more about why the female frog lays so many eggs.
Media credits: Banner-Markus@Thinkaholic; Kingfisher- Pierre Dalous; Great diving beetle- E van Herk; Great diving beetle nymph- Aflisch; Great diving beetle nymph eating tadpole- Giles San Martin; Newt-Ian Kirk; Stickleback- Ron Offermans; Minnow- Adrien Pinot.