In the sacred birthplace of the Incas, sheltered by the deep blue water of Lake Titicaca, swims a frog known by biologists as Telmatobius culeus—and by locals as “The Scrotum Frog.”
The frog has gained its name for the blanket like skin flaps that sag from the exterior of its body, but also because for 20 years it has been the main ingredient of booming street vendor business that’s been revolutionizing bedrooms across Peru.
Frog Juice, too, has an affectionate Andean nickname—“Peruvian Viagra.”
For as little as $2 USD, Peruvians can get a fresh-cup of Frog Juice, an all-natural concoction that is believed to cure osteoporosis, anemia, bronchitis, sexual impotence and increase sex-drive.
The recipe is simple:
1. Dice carrots and maca root.
2. Put in two large spoonfuls of honey.
3. Add a half cup of white bean broth.
4. Grab a Titicaca frog by its leg and slam its helpless little body on the countertop like a heartless maniac.
5. Add pinches of carob and pollen based on personal taste.
6. Carve the skin off the limp innocent skeleton and toss its mangled, blameless body into a high-powered blender.
7. Serve succulent morning smoothie.
In recent years Frog Juice has surged in popularity, with some street vendors blending between 50 and 70 frogs per day.
The Titicaca Frog was categorized as “vulnerable” since 2004, but last year was moved to the IUCN Red List as “Critically endangered.” According to Motherboard, Peru’s National Forest and Wildlife Service has confiscated up to 4,000 frogs in a single seizure. Biologists are becoming concerned of the latent effects a depleted population could have on the balance of the ecosystem.
While it is illegal to sell any wildlife classified as endangered under national law, a large blackmarket still exists because of engrained cultural traditions.
The frog now joins the likes of the Blue Whale, the Iberian Lynx and the South China Tiger on the “critically endangered” list.
While many locals believe the cultural importance of frog juice to be grounded in ancestry, there is no literature available that supports this claim. The medical benefits of the frogs themselves are also questionable as frog juice is always served with honey (a natural antibiotic) and Maca— a root scientifically proven to increase sex-drive and sperm count.