Rush to catch balloon frogs amid the floods in Phayao

RESIDENTS of northern Phayao province turned the heavy flooding from two days of torrential rain into an opportunity as they enthusiastically caught balloon frogs for sale, Naewna newspaper said today (Apr. 20).

Despite infrastructure in this province being badly flooded the residents waded in the floodwater to catch the balloon frog, also known as blunt-headed burrowing frog, as the burrowing species spends most of the year under the ground only emerging in large numbers during the rainy season to breed in temporary pools.

They were able to sell them at 10 to 20 baht each or three for a hundred in the market. The opportunity to catch these strange fat frogs, found in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, only comes once a year.

Mrs. Suphan Puangkham, a balloon frog vendor at Tha Wang Thong fresh market in Muang Phayao district, said these frogs only emerge for one or two days a year when it rains heavily. The price of the male frogs is 20-30 baht and females 35-40 baht or three for a hundred baht. They can be cooked in various ways and are very tasty.

According to Wikipedia, the balloon frog is very popular as a food item in Thailand, where it has been traditionally considered a delicacy in Thai cuisine, the frog’s texture and taste reputedly being so exquisite that it can be eaten whole. 

Natural populations of this amphibian, however, have been severely depleted in most areas of the country owing to overcatching. Currently projects are undertaken to breed and release these frogs into their natural habitat. The first place where breeding was undertaken was at Phayao Inland Fisheries Research and Development Centre in 2009. Later breeding was undertaken at Lamphun Inland Fisheries and Development Centre in 2011.

CAPTIONS:

Top: A balloon frog. Photo: Thainationalparks.com

Home Page: A balloon frog that a Phayao resident caught. Photo: Naewna


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TNR staff

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