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Publication #WEC301

Florida Invader: Cuban Treefrog1

Steve A. Johnson and Monica E. McGarrity2

This fact sheet is best viewed as a pdf, available here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/UW/UW34600.pdf
Figure 1. 

Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) Credits: Steve A. Johnson, University of Florida


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Cuban treefrogs are native to Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas and have become established throughout peninsular Florida. Like other treefrogs, they have sticky toepads and are often seen climbing on houses and other buildings and feeding on bugs attracted to outdoor lights. These invasive frogs secrete mucus from their skin that can burn your eyes and cause an allergy-like reaction (sneezing, stuffy/runny nose)—pets can also be affected. Cuban treefrogs prey on several species of native frogs (and small lizards and snakes), and are believed to be causing the decline of native treefrogs in Florida. Cuban treefrogs can be identified by their call—a hoarse mraaaaaak—and by using the tips shown in the bulleted lists below. Cuban treefrogs should be captured and humanely euthanized by applying 20% benzocaine gel to their skin and then freezing the frog.

How do I know if I have an invasive Cuban treefrog or a native treefrog?

Invasive Cuban Treefrogs

  • May grow larger than 2.5 inches long

  • Usually have bumpy, warty skin

  • Have large toepads and "bug eyes"

  • Are often beige or white

  • Have a wash of yellow color where legs meet body (see Fig. 2)

Learn more by reading "The Cuban Treefrog in Florida" online at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw259

Figure 2. 

Adult Cuban treefrogs exhibit a lot of variation in skin color and markings. Notice that this frog has a large, warty body, large toepads, and bug eyes. There is also a wash of yellow color where the legs meet the body—a common characteristic. Credits: Ocy Delgado


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Young Cuban Treefrogs

  • Often have reddish eyes

  • Often have light lines down their sides

  • Have blue bones

Figure 3. 

Young Cuban treefrogs may be greenish (A) or brownish (B), but usually have reddish eyes and light lines down their sides. Their blue bones (C) can easily be seen through the pale skin on the undersides of their legs. Credits: Steve A. Johnson, University of Florida


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Don't Confuse Cuban Treefrogs with Native Treefrogs!

  • Native treefrogs never grow larger than 2.5 inches long

  • Some species, such as the barking, gray, and green treefrogs may have slightly bumpy skin—but the bumps are uniform, more like goose bumps than warts

Learn more about Florida's frogs at http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/frogs/florida.shtml

Figure 4. 

Some native treefrogs you may encounter in urbanized areas are the (A) green treefrog, (B) squirrel treefrog, and (C) pinewoods treefrog—the latter of the three will only be seen in somewhat rural areas. Credits: Steve A. Johnson, University of Florida


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Additional Information

For more information on Cuban treefrogs and how you can help by joining our citizen science project, visit http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/citizen_sci.shtml.

Footnotes

1.

This document is WEC301, one of a series of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date August 2010; revised February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Steve A. Johnson, associate professor and Extension specialist, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611; and Monica McGarrity, extension program assistant, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

For more information on Cuban treefrogs and how you can help, visit http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/citizen_sci.shtml. Photos by Steve A.Johnson, UF/IFAS Extension; Esther Langan; and Ocy Delgado.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.