Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Spring slime - post 1

Something amazing happened yesterday. I saw frogspawn - the slimy herald of spring.

Weirdly, though, I saw it on a pavement near my house - as if the frogs concerned didn't quite make it to the watery ditch just a metre or so away. Yesterday I didn't realise it was frogspawn, I just thought it was evidence of a dog with a serious problem. But today on my way home for lunch, I realised the true nature of the gelatinous mass. Suddenly it became much less disgusting as I realised it was a ball of potential life.

I went home for lunch, and then dug out my fish tank, procured for just such a purpose. I furtled about in the garden for some rainwater, and managed to find a tupperware-box-full. Would the (at least) two-day old spawn have survived on the pavement? It has been raining almost constantly, so it won't have totally dried out. But will it have had enough oxygen to keep it going?

The tank prepared with a little rainwater, I went out with my box to collect the spawn. On closer inspection, there weren't very many black dots (indicators of the fertilised eggs) but there were a few. I scooped up the slime and returned home to put it in the tank. It looked a bit reddish (not a good sign)? But I wasn't sure whether this was evidence of spawn deterioration or just colour from some dead leaves it was resting on.

The spawn doesn't look very healthy, as apart from its colour there are no nicely rounded slime balls as you usually see around the eggs. Could that just be because it's dehydrated? There are probably only about 6 or so eggs in there - but you never know - they might hatch!

I love hatching out spawn, but I'm always worried about doing it (I don't wish to harm the 'poles or transfer frog disease between ponds). This slime rescue, however, seems ethical. If they do survive, they wouldn't have without human intervention. Maybe they weren't meant to survive though, due to their dense parents? Hmm...