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Cuban Treefrog

Osteopilus septentrionalis


Osteopilus septentrionalis, commonly known as the Cuban tree frog, is an amphibian native to the Caribbean region of the Western Hemisphere. It is the largest tree frog of North America. Their wide diet and ability to thrive amongst humans has made it a highly invasive species with established colonies in Northern Florida, the Hawaiian island of Oahu, and thorough the Caribbean Islands.They range in size from 3 to 5.5 inches (76 to 140 mm) and vary in color from olive-brown, bronze, gray, or grayish-white. A nocturnal tree dwelling frog, they are known to eat almost anything that will fit in their mouth and to mate year-round. Their arrival in a new community is believed to be detrimental to local species and it has been suggested that these frogs be destroyed on sight upon their arrival in new habitats. Cuban tree frogs are commonly available as pets; however, because the animal secretes a toxic mucus from their skin that can cause a burning sensation in the eyes. It is not an ideal pet. It is also believed that further distribution of the species has been expanded by the release of these pets.


The Cuban tree frog is native to Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands. This large frog has been introduced in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, many islands of the Lesser Antilles, and Hawaii. There is debate over if the species was native to the Key West region of Florida, or if it was introduced to the area. First discovered in the 1930s, it is theorized that they might arrived on ships in the 1800s or could have made it to the area by natural means. They can survive in brackish water and this ability may have helped the species to spread to various islands. The Cuban tree frogs progressed colonization into the mainland of Florida is believed to be by use of Florida State Road A1A construction during the 1940s. The species is now established in southern Florida and parts of the panhandle region and can be found as far north as South Carolina. The Cuban tree frog is known to hitchhike on shipments of potted plants, vegetation, packaging, boats, and other motorized vehicles. Once in a new location the frogs become an invasive species. They have several good colonizing traits, such as: high fecundity, short generation time, a diverse diet, good competitive ability, and the ability to co-exist with humans. In addition they also secrete a toxic mucus from their skin which helps to limit the number of natural predators. Cuban tree frogs are known to inhabit a variety of communities, including estuarys, low-density suburban development, small towns, agricultural areas, particularly ones with exotic plants, and lowland forests and swamps. Within their habitat they can be found in damp, shady areas, particularly around shrubs and trees, by cisterns, rain barrels, and buildings.


Excellent climbers the Cuban tree frogs will typically sleep above ground during the day. During the night Cuban tree frogs forage for insects in sources of artificial light. Indiscriminate predators they will eat anything they can overpower and fits into their mouth, including: snails, spiders, insects, other frogs (even other Cuban tree frogs), snakes, lizards, small crustaceans, and hatchling birds in their nest.Their foraging will occasionally take them up utility poles where they can cause short-circuits of utility switches, causing costly power outages

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Florida, USA

Spotted on Aug 15, 2012
Submitted on Aug 15, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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