You know what frogs look like: they have bulging eyes, webbed feet, long legs for hopping, and often a long tongue for catching flies. But when they’re babies, called tadpoles, they look completely different! They have no legs, but a long tail for swimming and they can breathe underwater like fish.
This total change from one shape to another is called metamorphosis. The same thing happens with caterpillars, which grow up to be butterflies.
The different stages of a frog’s life are called its lifecycle. A cycle is a series of events that repeat. Every creature on earth has a life cycle: babies grow into children, children grow into adults, adults have babies, and round and round it goes.
Nature is full of cycles. The seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall) make a cycle because they repeat every year. The phases of the moon (new moon, crescent, half moon, full moon) make a cycle because they repeat every month. The parts of a day (morning, afternoon, evening, night) make a cycle because they repeat every day.
Here’s a wheel you can make that shows the life cycle of a frog:
What you need:
- Printouts of the template
- A brass fastener
Print out the template on paper or card stock. Use the scissors to cut them both out. Don’t forget the little window!
Make a small hole in the center of each piece. Attach the two pieces with the brass fastener so that they can turn.
As you turn the wheel, you’ll see the stages of a frog’s life cycle, one at a time.
Unfortunately, frogs are in big trouble right now – many kinds are dying out. The environments where frogs live are being destroyed as people turn more and more wild land into farms and cities. A lot of frogs are also getting sick because of a fungus called BD that is spreading around the world. Pesticides and climate change cause problems for frogs too.
But many people are working to save them. If you want to help, there are organizations to whom you can donate money. Many places in the world have FrogWatch programs, where volunteers of all ages can help keep track of frog populations. Some people even build a pond for wild frogs in their backyards!
Frogs survived the extinction of the dinosaurs. Let’s help them survive this, too.
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