Help! Tadpoles (stuck) in my water trough

I have a problem of epic proportions:
I have a pasture surrounding my riding arena. There is a spigot and a big water trough that we pass on the way to the ring, and today I notice there are hundreds of very small tadpoles in it.
Not a problem to the horses because they have 2 other troughs in their interconnected fields plus a bold creek.
But I’m concerned that the tadpoles will surely be in trouble when they become frogs as they can’t get out of the trough.
What to do?
This happened before and someone said put a stick for them to climb out but it floated and didn’t help.
Someone else said tip them out but they’ll dry up and die because the trough isn’t near a creek or marshy puddle.

Can you put a 2x4 or other large piece of lumber into the trough? Too big to float but small enough that it forms a frog bridge while still allowing your horses to drink?

If you put a large stick in it they can hop on it and then leap out. Even if it just floats around

An old hay net, hung securely from one end with the other floating, helps wee froggies move on :slight_smile: It’s also good to leave it there for wayward birds and squirrels lest they commit suicide


They’ll dry out and die before they make it. You can either scoop them out and move them or tip the tank over before they get too big. My frogs have other places to lay their eggs with better chances of survival.

“An old hay net” - with or without hay in it? Sounds like a good idea as that would float ‘flat’ whereas a stick would roll when they try to mount it…

Perhaps if the tank is kept flush/ full anything you let hang inside will allow for peaceful departure. I do this mostly for squirrels :chipmunk:. Nothing grosser than finding a poor dead squirrel floating in your trough and imagining it swimming around for hours before dying. I either hang a length of chain from the fence into the trough or I have taken 3 lengths of hay string knotted every 6 inches tied to the fence and hung inside to give wayward creatures a lifeline.


How do you have tadpoles in your water tub before you have mosquito larvae? I’m so tired of dumping seemingly good water out because of the darn mosquitos.

They should be able to climb up the tank . Remember frogs can climb walls, at least tree frogs do. My tadpoles seem to have no problem climbing out of the tank when it’s time. Well it probably wouldn’t hurt to hang a squirrel rescue rope or something in there, not sure frogs need that.

Without hay. I do this for all our troughs. It helps squirrels, frogs, birds and even the stupid rats that I don’t want dying and polluting the water.

If they are tree frogs they might be able to climb the sides, but other frog species and baby toads would have trouble. Better safe than sorry.

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Without hay. The older nets just float on the surface. A great way to repurpose a well-used net :wink:

in the outer water tanks we keep a ramp of old wood in the tanks because we have found some strange things… once was a baby owl standing in some water who could not get out (successfully rescued and released) …also during droughts or prolonged dry spells we will create a mud puddle of standing water near the back tanks… the crows will watch then inform the rest of the gang to come get a drink…(which provides a good relationship as the crows will engage the hawks to keep the hawks away from the herd of bunny rabbits)

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