Fried Frog Legs - ©

‘Jeremiah Was An Entrée’: BC Man Harvests Invasive Frogs

There are two extremes to the wild harvesting spectrum: Extinction of over-hunted species, and invasive species smothering out native ones. A Vancouver Island man is helping to strike a happy medium by harvesting rampaging bullfrogs for food…

American Bullfrog - © via Pintrest

Michael Indge regularly fishes for trout in Chemainus Lake, on Vancouver Island about 60 kilometres north of Victoria. Now, he’s going out for another delicacy: frog legs.

Specifically, Indge has received permission from North Cowichan District Council to harvest invasive American Bullfrogs.

Voracious monsters

American Bullfrogs are a particularly nasty species. They have a reputation as the goats of the amphibian world, eating pretty much anything they can catch. Even other, smaller frogs. So, they compete unfairly with native species for the food supply, as well as literally reducing their numbers by eating them.

American Bullfrogs have no trouble bullying other aquatic creatures. They can grow up to 20 cm / 8 in. length, and females can lay up to 20,000 eggs a year.

Wikipedia reveals that Bullfrogs are found all over the world: “Their presence as a food source has led to bullfrogs being distributed around the world outside of their native range. Bullfrogs have been introduced into the Western United States, South America, Western Europe, China, Japan, and southeast Asia. […] The frogs are large, have powerful leaps, and inevitably escape after which they may wreak havoc among the native [aquatic] population.”

A prized delicacy

When most people think of frog legs, they think automatically of France. But that connection is secondary to the huge market for Bullfrog limbs in the southern US, where they are consumed in large quantities. The climate and terrain are perfect for them: Long, languid summers and mild winters, and lots of swamps, ponds and shallow lakes.

Frog legs are generally breaded and deep fried, in the French ‘Cuisses de grenouille’ style. Though they may simply be pan-fried in butter and served with a squeeze of lemon juice. Some devotées have been known to poach or even oven bake them. Four to 6 legs (depending on their size) constitutes the protein component of a normal meal. But primarily in the US south, frog legs are also served in big batches for communal snacking.

Do I have to catch my own?

No! Many supermarkets now carry frog legs in their frozen fish sections. And compared to the prevailing sky-high prices for beef, chicken and pork, they are an inexpensive treat. In my town, frog legs are currently selling for around (C)$8.50 lb. / (C)$18.75 kg. That’s $6.50 to $8.50 per serving.

And what do they taste like?

“I’ve not tasted them [yet], but I hear that they taste just like chicken,” Indge told CHEK News. Well, what did you expect?

~ Maggie J.