Panama: The Search for the Red Frog

Though catchy, Red Frog beach has a real reason for its name.

The Red Frog, a protected species, inhabits this beautiful island in Bocas Del Toro. With surfable waves on the west side, and a calm, but jellyfish filled harbour on the south side, the island in the center is pure rain forest. Unfortunately, a group of naughty children living here capture red frogs in the morning, keep them in their pockets all day and ask tourists to pay them for a photo. Sadly, once released, the frogs don’t usually make it through the night.

A mere hour at the beach was all it took before a child around 5 years old approached me, looked around suspiciously and then pulled a banana leaf out of his pants with a beautiful red frog inside of it.  Declining a photo from the child may not have made any impact, but hopefully with enough educated tourists saying “no”, the children would eventually stop.I still wanted to find a way to ethically photograph this beautiful creature in it’s natural habitat, so today my day was spent on a search for the red frog.

I searched and searched under rain-filled clouds and saw nothing. Red is a distinguishable color, but there were many things that tricked my eyes, like flowers, and these bright red beans.

Finally, cold and soaked, I quit my journey and headed back to my room.  I was almost about to enter the door when I saw it. A tiny penny-sized flash of red. There was my red frog! Not in the thick jungle I had been looking for earlier, or near the mosquito clouded ponds, but right here in front of my hotel room.  It stook around just long enough for a short photo-shoot.

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