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How to herd muddys – first find a shotgun


Mud_crab 2 LIVING IN MORESBY YOU get used to being regularly assailed by a variety of door-to-door salespeople offering a huge range of products from Trobriand carvings to mud crabs and live chooks. I was even once offered my own stolen laptop.

My favourite was an old man who I called the Fisher King. He brought a variety of lovely seafood to my door, always fresh (he enterprisingly kept it in an ice bucket). Tilapia, Red Emperor, Coral Trout, Barramundi, Mud Crabs – he’d supply them all with a friendly smile and at a reasonable price. On one occasion even duck and cormorant.

One weekend I was preparing for a staff function and bought half a dozen gigantic mud crabs from him - the a couple of kilos.

As the feast wasn't until the next day, I put them in the laundry sink overnight (feeling a bit sorry for them) and covered them with water.

Unfortunately their claws were tied with leaves which swelled and loosened in the water, so the next morning, when I entered the laundry to start preparations, I was accosted by six very angry giant crabs roaming around looking for vengeance.

They got out through the door and started chasing me around the house, claws a-snapping. It was funny, yes, but don't underestimate the strength of a mud-crab's claws. They can snap fingers in half.

Luckily I found a broom and managed to herd them back into the laundry, then hurriedly shut the door and considered my options.

I knew a neighbour had a gun, but this seemed a bit extreme for a few crabs. I decided on a strategy of distraction and surprise, so, armed with a broom and a white rag on a stick, I cautiously opened the door.

I distracted the muddies with the rag, then cornered them with the broom and threw them one-by-one into a pot with a heavy lid - which I quickly transferred to the stove where they met their doom.

Subsequently a lovely crab meal was enjoyed by all! Lesson - treat PNG mud crabs with respect (and pick them up by the back end).


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Peter Kranz

On another occasion I bought a couple of live chooks and again put them in the laundry with some weetbix and a bowl of water to keep them happy.

I named them Pinky and Perky and built up a bit of a relationship as they were quite friendly for chooks. I was in two minds about keeping them in the garden shed for the eggs.

Unfortunately my lovely wife woke up before me the next morning and calmly walked into the laundry, grabbed them by their necks and swung them around a few times, then proceeded to pluck and dress them.

So much for keeping Pinky and Perky! (But at least they tasted good.)

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