WSU/Pend Oreille Extension introduced the Sense of Place series in 1999, with a focus on local landscape and natural history of Pend Oreille County, Washington. A partnership with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians Natural Resources Department has allowed us to expand this program through EPA funding to include more classes, a newsletter and this website.

Frogs in Pend Oreille County


by Ray Entz

Pend Oreille County has a wonderful feature not shared by many other places in the world: an active floodplain along a major river. This flat valley we call home (the Cusick Valley) is also home to a very diverse association of wetlands and habitats that support a variety of wildlife including amphibians.

Amphibians and mainly frogs are key indicators as to how well our wetlands are doing. And since wetlands are extremely important to us for water quality and quantity issues as our environmental filters, understanding frogs is helpful to our understanding of the importance of wetlands in our lives.

Wetlands and riparian areas are key ecological features as up to 80% of all wildlife require these areas for at least some portion of their life history. Frogs rely upon wetlands and riparian habitats for breeding, rearing, migration, and resting habitat to say the least. Recently, in geologic terms, frogs and particularly native species have been disappearing from the landscape. We humans have significantly changed the face of habitats for amphibians through development, habitat conversion, and land use management. One of the things that we have done is to introduce non-native frogs (bullfrogs) to the landscape. These frogs interact and compete with native frogs reducing their viability in native habitats. They compete for breeding space, food and even prey upon young native frogs such as spotted and leopard frogs.

Thinking outside the box is important if we are to retain the native frogs in our landscape and stave off intrusive regulatory measures like the endangered species act. By treating wetlands and wetland restoration in a way that balances the important diversity that we have lost, we may be able to help native frogs and ourselves persist in the landscapes that we live in. Another way to assist our native frogs may be in the pursuit of a new culinary treat…Frog Legs. Bullfrog Legs, that is! Frog legs have long been considered a great source of protein and considered a delicacy in some regions of the United States and throughout the world.

So happy gigging and try our recipe, but be sure you are only eating bullfrogs! Look for the ridge extending back from the eyes - it curves down around the external eardrum.

Cajun-style Frog Legs

INGREDIENTS:

12 frog legs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 tbsp spicy mustard
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup chopped parsley (optional)
Oil for frying
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if desired)
Sliced lemons and parsley to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Heat large pot of cooking oil to 375 degrees.
Scald froglegs about 3 minutes in boiling water,containing 1/2 cup lemon juice and salt.
Remove, dry with clean towel and season withsalt, cayenne pepper and black pepper.
MIx eggs and spicy mustard.
Dip frog legs in batter then roll in bread crumbs.
Cover well and drop in pre-heated oil.
Fry to a golden brown.
Remove from oil and drain well on absorbent paper.

SERVING SUGGESTION:

Place frog legs in a bed of fried parsley and garnish with parsley and slices of lemon.
Makes good side dish served with Southern Style Red Beans and rice. Serves 12.

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