At about the age of seven, when i’d come back home from school, it was my pleasure to go and visit my cousin who hated going to school. We’d go into people’s farms plucking ears of corn and hunting for birds with our catapults and traps. This very day was however different, as we decided to observe a particular well filled with dirty water. It had attracted us because of the noise we heard. A noise which wasn’t strange to my cousin who had already begun ‘harvesting’ what I later came to call frog. Though we went home with a few ‘frogs’ it wasn’t until evening he had called me to have a taste of it. I did, but with an hesitation. You know what? It tasted nice!
Now, it has been years of my seeing a frog around, not to mention eating it. Luck did in fact come my way, when recently, at night I would hear the cries of this same creature, this ‘frog’. Because of my curiosity this time around, I had to go into studying to know if these creatures are poisonous or not. This is what I found out:
That “Poison dart frogs are well known for their brightly coloured skin. The bright colours warn potential predators of their toxicity” and that “they get the deadly chemical called lipophilic alkaloid from consuming a poisonous food in the rainforest.”
So when I did ‘harvest’ these amphibians eventually (as the pictures attest), I came to the conclusion that since I am not in a rainforest, they cannot be called or known as “poisonous frogs,” but toads.
Albeit, the cane toad, which is native to the Americans is quite poisonous and used as a biological pest control. Like the one in my bucket, it is eaten after the careful removal of the skin and parotoid glands. When properly prepared, the meat of the toad is considered healthy and as a source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Refreshingly, I think what I did ‘harvest’ eventually at night, is called the common toad. It does look like the cane toad, though all non-poisonous toads eaten by humans act like the asiatic toad.
I had also discovered that “the Asiatic toad plays an important role in traditional Oriental medicine. An extract of the toxins secreted by the toad, known as toad venom or chan-su , has long been touted for its medicinal properties. In addition, dried toad skins have been prescribed as remedies for dropsy and other ailments. More recently, Western medical science has also taken an interest in the toad. In 1998, an antimicrobial peptide was extracted from the toad, and patented.”
As I had prepared this toad meticulously and eaten it with all consciousness, I would ipso facto think about the weirdest names I would begin to bear apart from “toad eater”. For unfortunately, in 21st Nigeria, a lot of myths and traditions still ‘move’ about with un-scratched influences.
Personally, I do admire folks outside and within, who erect rat farms, cockroach farms, snail farms, grasshopper farms, pig farms, cricket farms, bee farms, and rabbit farms, etc. For despite many bias and prejudices, it has taken more than courage for such individuals to love what they do. After all, that meat, fish or vegetable you eat in your house today is another’s cultural taboo!