It might be hard to believe that frogs and tadpoles could be related because they look so different, but tadpoles are really just baby frogs, waiting to grow up!
Tadpoles actually start as a batch of eggs in the water, which hatch into lots of tiny little tadpoles! Usually a mother frog lays lots of eggs all at once, sometimes a few thousand, because some get eaten by creatures like fish and birds, and they don’t all survive.
When they hatch, the babies are in the form of little tadpoles with just gills, a tail, and a mouth. They attach themselves to some underwater plants where they stay until they’re big enough to swim free in the water!
After several weeks, the tadpoles begin to go through even more changes. They grow teeth, hind-legs, forelegs, and develop a more distinct head. They also start to eat small insects and plants. Eventually, the tadpole’s tail gets shorter and it grows lungs, which will allow it to breathe on land. (Instead of using its gills to breathe in water.) – The little tadpole is now no longer a tadpole, but a full-grown frog! The whole process takes about 11-16 weeks, and once it’s complete, the grown-up frog can lay eggs, and the cycle can start over again!