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Life Cycle of a Toad: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Toads mature in very definite stages - in fact, a baby toad looks nothing like an adult. Come and learn about the life cycle of a toad and about each of its four stages of growing up.

Growing Up

Think about what it is like to grow up as a human being. You start out as a baby and then you grow into a child. From there, you continue to grow and your body makes changes as you develop into a teenager and an adult. While you gradually look different at each stage, you don't actually change from one form into another.

Toads, on the other hand take on completely different forms as they grow up. This is known as metamorphosis. There are four major stages in the life cycle of a toad, which we will explore in this lesson.

Stage 1: Egg

Before human beings are released into the world as newborn babies, they begin to develop inside their mother's womb. A toad, however, starts out as an egg. No - not like the egg that you scramble in the morning for breakfast. Toad eggs are surrounded by a clear, jelly-like substance. When a mother toad is ready to have her babies, she will lay her eggs in a stream or a pond in a long strand. Toads have been known to lay hundreds and even thousands of eggs.

Strands of toad eggs
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In the middle of a toad egg, you can see a tiny black dot. Eventually, this little black dot will become a toad! Right now, it is an embryo (an unborn baby). The embryo will continue to grow and grow until it is ready to be born. Some of the eggs will not make it, and the journey will end for them here.

Stage 2: Tadpole

The eggs hatch into tadpoles, or 'pollywogs'. Tadpoles have a tail and gills, which means that they need to live in water to breathe. They have special jaws that they use to begin eating algae. The algae provide the nutrition they need to grow healthy and strong.

A tadpole
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Stage 3: Toadlet

Think of the third stage as the teenage years of the toad. While they have developed legs and almost look like toads, they aren't quite there yet. This is the toadlet stage. Toadlets have sticky tongues that they use to catch their food. They also have developed lungs at this stage, allowing them to breathe air instead of water. While toadlets are able to survive on land, they need to go back in the water frequently because they are easily dehydrated.

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