Frogs & Toads in my Amazon kitchen…steaming casseroles every day.

Frogs in my Amazon kitchen……steaming casseroles every day.

It would seem logical in the heat of an Amazon Rainforest to eat light meals, salads and cold meats, but my partner and the locals liked hot, steaming casseroles made up of meat, fish and vegetables, every single day.

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At first I baulked at the idea of being bathed in perspiration to cook a meal, but clean water was not always available so it was a sensible option to heat food by boiling and thereby sterilise the water and kill the bacteria that rapidly formed on food in the rainforest humidity.
At least that’s what I tried to convince myself as I stood outside the kitchen gasping for fresh air and a cool breeze.

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One result of this constant elevated humidity and heat in the kitchen was that on the walls of my kitchen could be found frogs and toads obviously thriving in the conditions that floored me.

These frogs and toads were quite beautiful. Their eyes particularly intrigued me. They shone like jewels surrounded by a golden filigree edge. They clung to the wooden walls by their suckered toes.
These kitchen amphibians came in a variety of colours and sizes. There was the large, dark tan frogs with brown stripes, the medium size frog/toad with a greenish hue and the tiny delicate pink and soft grey frog with brown stripes found in a pair of wellingtons. And there was the tiny brown toad with pointed fingers and poisonous skin…..excuse photo, not a good one I know.

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Frogs and toads eat insects ie cockroaches, spiders and small animals, so were welcome visitors to my kitchen where, with the Tarantula who lived in the roof, they kept away unwanted creatures.

Shower and bathrooms are also loved by these creatures. Don’t be surprised if you go to Manaus or surrounding forest lodges to find them clinging to the tiled walls. Best ignored, they rarely jump off to bother bathers.

If anyone knows the names of these amphibians I’d be grateful for the information.

Frogs and Toads of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest.

Frogs and Toads of the Amazon Rainforest.

Frogs and toads frequented the kitchen. The warmth and humidity were perfect for these amphibians who felt quite at home in the damp conditions.
The Amazon Rainforest contains more than a thousand species of frogs and many of them found their way to my kitchen.
The photo shows one of my favourites. A large frog, orangey brown, with dark stripes. The eyes of these frogs were amazing, dark blue with red flashes surrounded by a golden filigree edge, like precious jewels. Stunning.
I hate cockroaches, the only insects I can’t bear, and these frogs ensured that they, and any other insect which made its way into the kitchen, were not a problem, so were welcome living pest controllers. They moved easily about the wooden walls of the kitchen, securely attached by their sucker like feet and could frequently be found between the large serving spoons, forks, knives, colanders and saucepans that hung from hooks on the walls.

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The brown frogs shared the kitchen with what I believe was a toad. It had greenish-grey warty textured skin, but I thought it handsome.

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The frogs and toads did not stay in the kitchen entirely though. One day I was taking, carefully, the washing from the line, when something large and cold slapped onto my chest. I froze rigid thinking it was a snake, but the frog then jumped back onto the wall, leaving me shaking with fright.

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There were tiny, brightly coloured frogs too. They do not like the walls of the lodge, instead preferring cool, dark, damp places. I found a particularly pretty one; tiny, pink and pale grey with delicately patterned, black markings, in the toe of a Wellington boot. I went to pick this pretty frog up, but my hand was grabbed and pulled away. It was poisonous, as are most small frogs. I learnt on day one in the rainforest that many creatures like closed-in footwear. I was told never to put on a pair of shoes or boots without investigating the toes first with a stick and this I did religiously.

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A fungal infection is decimating frogs worldwide, see Chytrid and virus

Plastic Pollution in the Amazon Rainforest. Part One.

Plastic Pollution in the Amazon Rainforest, Lake Manacapuru.

The beautiful waterfall area is used by people from the local town, particularly when I am not there, as a picnic and recreational area.
On one occasion I went there with some friends for a picnic. The first thing I noticed as we rowed our canoes close to the area was silence. The birds had disappeared from the entrance to the waterfall and all along the stream.
I could hear, long before reaching the area, that an afternoon party was in full flow. Loud music blasted from large loudspeakers. Young people hollered, sung and laughed and screamed loudly, chasing each other through the trees and scarring the trunks of trees with deep knife slashes. Families with children picnicked along the shore of the river, disposing of their waste under bushes.
My friends and I walked through the stream and along the banks, picking up the rubbish that had been discarded, including: broken glass alcohol bottles; open, razor sharp lidded, cans; coloured plastic bags; polystyrene food containers; cellophane and metallic coloured sweet wrappers and used nappies. We filled the bottom of two canoes with the rubbish and this was only one days pollution.

One thing that surprised me on my visits to my home in the rainforest, was the amount of rubbish you see floating in the rivers. Plastic is a particular problem. It is sad to find what initially looks like a pristine, untouched, stretch of primary forest or fast flowing river and see, bobbing in the water or washed up on banks, or tangled around roots and branches – gaudy plastic strips, bags and bottles. We, travelling in canoes, always scooped them up, but there were always plenty more pieces of rubbish to take their place.
Plastic pollution is becoming a big problem in many beautiful parts of the world, in rivers and on seas, forming islands of imperishable waste. Sadly parts of the magnificent Amazon rainforest and river are fast becoming polluted, uninhabitable and barren too.
We, in the west, have made mistakes, polluted our rivers and seas and countryside and are now trying to repair the damage. I wish Brazilians would learn from our mistakes and not commit the same ones. They have a chance to rub our faces in our stupidity and show us how it is done. They have a wonderful rainforest, something truly special and unique. It is not so very hard to keep it that way, is it ?
The photo is of one of the two canoes we filled with rubbish from the waterfall area. One weekends rubbish.

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Amphibians: Frogs in my Amazon kitchen.

Have just seen a program in which David Attenborough talks about a fungus, the chytrid fungus,that is decimating frog populations around the world. It is an awful thought that we could lose these fascinating creatures. Here is a diary piece from my last stay in the forest:
Frogs and toads frequented the kitchen. The photo shows one of my favourites. A large frog, orangey brown, with dark stripes. I hate cockroaches, the only insects I can’t bear, and these frogs ensured that they were not a problem, so were welcome living pest controllers. They moved easily about the wooden walls of the kitchen, securely attached by their sucker like feet and could frequently be found between the large serving spoons, forks, knives, colanders and saucepans that hung from hooks on the walls.
They do not stay in the kitchen entirely though. One day I was taking, carefully, the washing from the line, when something large and cold slapped onto my chest. I froze rigid thinking it was a snake, but the frog then jumped back onto the wall, leaving me shaking with fright. The eyes of these frogs are amazing. They are a dark blue with red flashes surrounded by a golden filigree edge, like precious jewels. Stunning.
There were tiny, brightly coloured frogs too. They do not like the walls of the lodge, instead preferring cool, dark, damp places. I found a particularly pretty one; tiny, pink and white and delicately patterned, in the toe of a Wellington boot. I went to pick this pretty frog up, but my hand was grabbed and pulled away. It was poisonous, as are most small frogs. I learnt on day one in the rainforest that many creatures like closed-in footwear. I was told never to put on a pair of shoes or boots without investigating the toes first with a stick and this I did religiously.

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