Wednesday, 5 May, 2021

The push to save Aussie frogs; Japan’s fried insect vending machine; Chinese rocket falls to Earth; and how to eat like a cat. 



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One of the biggest studies ever undertaken of Australia’s 243 different species of frog has found that while some frogs don’t much love living alongside humans – others are doing just fine. 

Scientists from the Australian Museum have just completed a really big survey of frog calls – using 100,000 recordings supplied by everyday Australians – to conclude that some species of Aussie frog need special attention to make sure they don’t hop on to the endangered species list. 

An endangered species is an animal or plant whose very existence is under threat. And in the case of frogs, it’s very often changes in frog habitat, caused by human activity, that creates the problem. 

According to the scientists, the crawling toadlet and bleating froglet struggle when humans move into their neighbourhood – others like the green-lipped tree frog and motorbike frog – named for the machine-like sound of its croak – tend to do well.

Frogs play a really important role in the natural environment: they reduce algae in streams and are an important food source to many other animals. 

If you’re keen to help scientists keep track of the frogs in your backyard – check out the link to the Frog ID project in today’s episode notes.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Japan. Oh goody. I love landing in Japan. You never know what crazy thing they’ve been up to. And today – it’s the unveiling of a vending machine that serves deep fried insects. 

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to travel to Japan, you’ll know that vending machines are everywhere – and you can get pretty much anything out of them. Vending machines are those big boxes you see often on train platforms or other public places containing snacks and drinks. You put money in, the machine spits out whatever you select. 

In the prefecture of Nagasaki in Japan, there’s   r a vending machine that serves deep fried crickets, locusts, beetes, cicadas. None of those take your fancy? Why not try a silkworm? Apparently they’re delicious.

It might sound gross, but insects are a really good source of protein. And as the world gets bigger and there are more mouths to feed, we might all be finding more bugs on our plates. Edible insects: it’s a thing. 




On the subject of things, eating cat food is becoming a thing too, in the United States, where a cat food manufacturer has just published a cook book for humans. 

Fancy Feast is a popular brand of cat food – and it’s just released a cookbook full of cat-food inspired recipes. But don’t panic: they’re not suggested we open a sachet of wet cat food and plonk it onto our dinner plate: and they’re not suggesting we develop a taste for dry cat food pellets – gross. Instead, the chief nutritionist at the cat food company has developed a bunch of recipes for humans using the same sorts of ingredients that go into the cat food: salmon and chicken and rice and stuff. 

Which is just as well: because I’ll pretty much try anything once: but I draw the line at pet food.  




If you’ve got a bike helmet, you might be advised to wear it for the next couple of days .. or at least keep your eye on the sky – with reports that part of a Chinese rocket that was sent into space last week is making its way back down to Earth and could crash pretty much anywhere. 

This is not to say we should all be alarmed. Just wary, according to space scientists.

The rocket is about 30 metres in length and yesterday, was spinning around the Earth at an altitude of about 300 kilometres, at a speed of more than 27,000 km/h. Which is super fast. 

As it gets closer to earth and the atmosphere becomes thicker, it is hoped most of the rocket will burn up. But there’s a chance there could be debris – which is bits of broken up rocket  – and that debris may hurtle to the Earth’s surface sometime over the weekend. So where would this debris land? It could be pretty much anywhere on the Earth’s surface in a vast swathe of the planet from New York, Madrid and Beijing in the northern hemisphere, to Chile and New Zealand in the southern hemisphere. Keep your eyes peeled people. And get ready to duck. 




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. A new vending machine in Japan is offering locals deep-fried what?
  2. A new cookbook in the United States has been inspired by what pet food?
  3. A rocket that’s expected to fall back to Earth this weekend was sent up into space last week by which country?




It’s May 5   … Cinco de Mayo .. which is big celebration of Mexican culture that happens every year in the United States. If you’ve got a sombrero, chuck it on. If you’re in the vicinity of a burrito or plate of nachos today: get involved …

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today …. Reef from Shoal Bay, Harvey from Gunnedah, Eliza from Williamstown, Jacob from Mernda, Blake from Glen Innes, Keegan from Mackay and Abbey from Forest Lake.

And some belated birthday shoutouts to… Isla from Wattle Grove and Emmy from Sydney

Classroom shoutouts… 2B and Miss Bousfield at St John The Apostle in Narraweena, Ms Barber’s class at Lane Cove Public School, class 5/6W of Croydon Park Public School, Class 1MR and Mrs Rendell at The Scots College, and Mrs Edward’s 6White class from St Bernadine’s.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Insects
  2. Cat food
  3. China