Cuban Tree Frog

This little Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) is adorable, but it’s another invasive species. It grows larger than our native tree frogs, outcompetes them for food, and unfortunately also eats them. The University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation actually recommends euthanizing Cuban tree frogs if you find them on your property!

These guys get a lot bigger than native tree frogs — up to almost six inches in some cases. They can be pretty much any color from white to gray, green or brown, with stripes or blotches. They eat beetles, roaches, spiders, and even small frogs, lizards, and snakes. These versatile little frogs live primarily in the south, but have been seen as far north as Canada!

I never touch the critters I photograph (unless they land on me) and it’s lucky in this case — Cuban tree frogs secrete an irritating “slime” on their skin which probably wouldn’t be much fun to touch. (This slime helps keep them from drying out.) The various sites exhorting me to immediately euthanize these little guys remind me that they wander into human homes, block sewer pipes, and cuddle on electrical boxes, sometimes shorting them out.

On the bright side, at least they are eating mosquitoes!

This molecule-sized (1cm) Cuban tree frog (below) did not want to be photographed. S/he jumped onto my camera, onto the flash, onto the strap, into my hair, into my outstretched hand, and thence into oblivion — but not before I literally got one, lone, single frame of The Frog Who Disapproves.

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