Cuban Tree Frog in Florida

Cuban Tree Frog


07.27.2006 - These frogs are everywhere here in Orlando Florida. When I arrive at a house, I often see them perched on the walls or atop the door, or light fixture, or many other areas. When I conduct an inspection of the roof, I often find several more. I routinely see them down inside the plumbing stacks of homes. For the most part, they are harmless. However, some people simply don't like frogs, or even have phobias, so from time to time I am called to address frog issues. I've had a couple of cases of frog-in-the-toilet, and I think that the frogs may have gone down the plumbing stack and into the plumbing system and into the toilet. One time I got a call about a bunch of bats inside a plumbing stack. I of course didn't believe it, but went to investigate anyway. Inside were several Cuban Tree Frogs. I don't know if there is a good method for Cuban Tree Frog removal, and I don't even see them as a real problem. These frogs take on many shapes and sizes. The one in the above photo is the largest that I've ever seen. I actually thought that it was a fake at first. I took some photos, and then let it be. If you need frog capture and removal, I can do it, but it's really not necessary.

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Frog Biology
Frogs come under the class of Amphibians in the order of Anura. Anura literally translates as tail-less. They are characterized by their short body, protruding eyes and webbed fingers or toes. The main anatomical characteristics of frogs are their long and powerful legs which they use to jump and swim. Their skin is very smooth and permeable due to the fact that they are often semi-aquatic or inhabit humid areas. Although they prefer these areas, frogs can still easily move on land as well. The one thing that make frogs most noticeable is their call as it can be widely heard during the days as well as nights. They produce this sound mainly during their mating season. Frogs don't have teeth so they swallow their prey. Without teeth, frogs rely on their sticky tongue which they use to ‘catch' their prey and then roll their food inside their tongue and into their mouth where they swallow it whole.

Frogs can be found almost everywhere in the world except Antarctica. Their largest variety is found in the tropical areas of the world as water is readily available at those places; however, some species of frogs can also be found in arid areas such as deserts. They live in ponds, creeks and trees. Frogs are air-breathers but they can stay under water for long periods of time. While in and under the water, the frogs' skin allows them to breathe. Frogs like consuming insects, snails, worms and spiders. They also eat small fish while some bigger frogs can even go after a mouse.

Reproduction and Life Cycle
There is a wide variation in the reproduction period of the frogs but for most varieties it occurs between late autumn and early spring. When an adult frog reaches its maturity, it along with others, gather near a place with water like a pond or a lake and calls out to attract a mate. Fertilization is external which means eggs and sperm meet outside the body. The female frog releases her eggs and then the male frog covers them with their sperm solution. After fertilization, the eggs swell and develop a protective layer over them. The eggs are black or brown in color. Baby frogs are known as tadpoles and they typically have oval bodies and long, flattened tails. At this time they are herbivores and live mainly on algae. As the tadpole stage comes to an end, the tadpoles undergo metamorphosis in which they develop into the adult frog form. The tail disappears at a later stage and after that a frog is ready to leave the water and can move to land. They are believed to survive for around 40 years.

Frogs and Diseases
Frogs can be a reason for diseases as they help in the transmission of microorganisms. This transmission mainly happens through minor cuts and skin abrasions between frogs and humans. The diseases caused by frogs include Mycobacteriosis, Chlamydiosis and Salmonellosis. Once the microorganisms are transmitted to humans, they are susceptible to dermatitis, painless subcutaneous nodules, lesions or skin loss. In a few cases, invasion into bone and deeper tissues has also been reported. Some frogs are poisonous and their consumption can be harmful.

Frog Nuisances
As the natural habitat for frogs is declining due to urban development, frogs find it very difficult to find places for their home and reproduction. They are forced to look for other places for their existence and have to enter in human territories for their survival. These days, frogs are very common to urban places and they can be easily seen near house lights, roads or surrounding areas.

Frogs can actually take over the bird houses meant for your pet birds or fish ponds used for fish breeding. They lay their eggs in the fish ponds and can cause damage to economy as well.

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The invasive Cuban frogs in Florida are turning into a nuisance specie. However, the presence of Cuban tree frog is difficult to identify. Read on to know what you can do about these invasive critters around your place in Florida.

Physical Appearance:

The Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus Septentrionalis) can be of gray, brown, beige, yellow, white, or green color and can quickly change colors too. There are prominent dark-colored blotches or streaks on their back, while some may not have a single mark. They have comparatively expanded pads on their toes that help them climb trees and buildings. These toe pads are distinctive features of Cuban tree frogs compared to native frogs and toads. The Cuban tree frog is a member of the Hylidae frog family. Cuban tree frogs are 1 to 4 inches long while adult females are up to 6 inches long. They also have quite large eyes.


As the name suggests, Cuban tree frogs are native to Cuba, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. In the 1920s, the tree frogs came to Florida in cargo containers, motorized boats, and ornamental plants. Now, Florida is currently the top residing place for these pesky tree frogs.

Eating Habits and Behavior:

Cuban tree frogs prey on five different frog species as well as tadpoles, lizards, and small snakes. Therefore, these are known as invasive frogs destroying the native ecosystem in Florida. To prey on insects, the tree frogs usually climb the walls near lit areas. They also start to poop on the windows and walls staining them. They take over the outdoor fishponds and birdbaths to lay eggs. If the annoying critter enters your home, it can enter the toilets or sink drainage pipes while clogging them. Unlike commonplace frogs, the pesky invader is also known for causing power outages by short-circuiting the switches.

How to Get Rid of Cuban Tree Frogs?

If you come across a Cuban tree frog around your residence in Florida, don't overlook the nuisance animal. Immediately capture the invasive frog in any plastic bag to prevent contact with its slimy skin. Because the slime secreted by its skin can be irritating and trigger asthma attacks.

Call the Experts to Euthanize the Frogs:

If you notice a whole population of Cuban tree frogs around your residence, call for professional help. They will humanely euthanize the crazy critters. It is illegal to release them again into the ecosystem.

A humane way to euthanize Cuban tree frogs is by applying an ample amount of 20% benzocaine at the back or belly of the frog. Most burn sprays, toothache liquids, and gels contain benzocaine that can make the frog unconscious. You can bag it and freeze the body overnight. Dispose of the bag later on.

Why Euthanize Cuban Tree Frogs?

Cuban tree frogs are greatly impacting the ecosystem by preying on native frog species. This is greatly endangering the other living species that have moved from the wild to urban areas due to habitat loss. It is for such reasons that humane euthanizing of frogs is greatly encouraged.

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