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A tiny tadpole swimming through a body of water in Minecraft!

Mob Menagerie: Tadpole

Baby frogs!

Baby animals of every species are incredibly cute, but have you ever wondered why? There’s a theory that it’s a survival strategy – humans are much less likely to hurt a creature that they think is cute, and research in the last few years shows that this is one of the strongest motivations that people have. It can even get them to love our mob of the month – the slimy, squirmy, but oh-so-adorable tadpole.

Tadpoles were announced at Minecraft Live 2021, and then added to the game in the Wild Update, which also added the deep dark, the allay, and the tadpoles’ natural habitat – the mangrove swamp.

Tadpoles don’t generate in the world when it’s created, unlike most other passive mobs. Instead, they’re produced by a block of frogspawn, which is created when you breed a couple of frogs together using slimeballs. Once laid, frogspawn will take about ten minutes to hatch, and when it does it’ll create 2-5 tadpoles.

Like most babies, tadpoles don’t do a whole lot. They swim around in water, and flop about trying to get to the nearest water if they find themselves on land. They can be lured with a slimeball, and picked up using a bucket of water. Oh, and they have a natural predator – the axolotl, which actively hunts tadpoles. So try to keep them apart if you want your tadpoles to survive.

Assuming they do survive, a tadpole will grow up into one of three different kinds of frog depending on the warmth level of the biome it grows up in. For example, a snowy slopes biome will hatch a cold frog, while a savanna biome will hatch a warm frog. A plains biome will hatch a temperate frog.  It takes about one in-game day for the tadpole to grow up, but you can accelerate that by feeding the tadpole slimeballs.

The Overworld tadpoles are unique, because on planet Earth they don’t just come from frogs – but from almost any amphibian. They look more like fish than frogs when born, but over time they grow little legs, as well as lungs for breathing air, and lose their swimming tail and gills. This process is known as “metamorphosis”.

The word “tadpole” comes from the Middle English “taddepol”, which is a combination of “tadde” meaning “toad”, and “pol” meaning “head”. Some people refer to tadpoles as “pollywogs”, which has similar origins – the word “pol” combined with the word “wiglen” which means “to wiggle”.

Despite the fact that tadpoles don’t have any bones or other hard body parts, archaeologists have discovered enormous fossil tadpoles in Spain, about 10 cm in length. These beasts wiggled their way through the swamps of the Upper Miocene era, about six to 20 million years ago, about the same time that the ancestors of humans split away from the ancestors of chimpanzees.

While archaeology was added to Minecraft in the Trails & Tales update, there’s no word yet of any players discovering any tadpole fossils. Luckily, we’ve got the changelog to see when they appeared instead. If only Planet Earth had a changelog, wouldn’t that make everything so much easier?

Duncan Geere
Écrit par
Duncan Geere

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