River frogs are a good jungle bug out food…if one knows which one that is. They are relatively easy to catch and only require good pair of eyes and reliable waterproof (and maybe floating) torch. I have not done this before in Malaysia, so I decided to get an indigenous man to show me the how. It was pitch dark…cold and a long slimy night.
I got in touch with a few local Malaysian aborigines to do this. I was told that the best hours to start hunting for jungle river frogs is at 830pm. While I am equipped with fancy torches, my hunting ‘company’ that night relied on China made USD2 D cell run museum pieces. Already I was feeling ashamed of myself. Shine the torches at the banks of the river will reveal the frogs eyes. They seem to glow but in actual fact they are just reflecting light. A mirror layer called tapetum lucidium in the frog’s eyes reflects light, something that is sometimes referred to as ‘eye-shine’ (duuuh).
It is rather easy to spot many pairs from one side of the river bank. But by the time you get over there, they have all seems to have disappeared. Once you have spotted the frogs, move in fast with the light still shining into their eyes and with your bare hands…grab them. Sounds easy but it takes a bit of practice. Those slimy buggers are really good at giving you the slip.
The hunting group broke up and spread along the river but never out of sight. My pride of a bagful of frogs was short-lived when I was told that more than half of the are not edible. What this means is that I have a lot more to learn and may have probably killed myself eating them. After about 2 hours, I give up. The cold and lack of sleep from previous day long hours at work is hitting me hard. I gave in to the call of the hammock.
It turns out the entire frog can be eaten. My hunting party mates showed me how to clean them. I practiced on a few and released the small ones. . The frogs were then stuffed into a bamboo, filled with water and placed over the fire. Everything really does taste like chicken.
This is by far the easiest way to hunt for food in a small river in the jungle. Beats trying to catch fish hands down. These are some of the things I learnt from this experience:
- A reliable waterproof & floating torch/ head torch is very important.
- Walking barefoot at night in the jungle river needs some serious practice. Otherwise be prepared to lose a few teeth.
- I have to find better ways to mark my campsite than a Cyalume stick. If I am bugging out, I do not want to be advertising where I am.
- Must think of a compact lightweight ‘hunt bag’ to keep the catch.
- River frog catching is relatively easy but the use of torch is a bit of a giveaway. Must bring or stash own food.
- I need to expand my jungle bug out food knowledge. The obvious next exercise is to catch fish but I am skeptical it will be practical. In good time, I plan to execute a multi night jungle bug out scenario and practice out my newly acquired skill & knowledge. Perhaps even test out some new strategies too.
Edible jungle river frogs are relatively easy to catch as long as you know which ones are good. If it boils down to survival, frogs would probably be at the top of my menu. Next would be fishes. Now that I have seen how the locals catch edible river frogs in the jungle….next up would be to see how they hunt for fishes.