Sunday, June 29, 2014

 When I visited my grandparents and aunt in Florida forty years ago, the nights were livened by tiny frogs hopping into the house from the backyard. We don't see them now.

One of the great things about going to new areas is seeing unfamiliar wildlife. I was so excited when we found this fellow hiding behind the hurricane shutters at our aunt's house.

He was large, about five inches. He wasn't disturbed by the opening of the shutters or having his picture taken until I tried to get a shot from above.

Cuban tree frog front view

Then he turned toward me. Look at that face, almost human. 

Back in Washington, I looked him up. He is a Cuban tree frog. Aaand, wait for it.....he is an invasive species! Yes, even when I travel I run into invasives.

Cuban tree frogs are much bigger than native Florida frogs and eat them up. You can do this simple test to confirm you have a Cuban tree frog. Take the frog (Wear gloves. Its skin emits an irritating substance) and try to move the skin on the head. If it doesn't move it's a Cuban tree frog since the skin is fused to the skull.

If you find you have a Cuban tree frog, you are encouraged to euthanize it. Want to know how? Catch the frog in a plastic bag. Holding the frog (again wear gloves) rub a stripe of benzocaine along its back or use a benzocaine spray. Put it in a plastic bag and seal the bag. 

The benzocaine will knock the frog out. Place the bag with the unconscious frog in your freezer overnight. Wash your hands well just to make sure you don't have any skin secretion on them. 

The frog will enter hibernation and then die. The next day put the bag in the trash.

How glad am I that I didn't know what kind of frog it was until safely back home? Very glad. How glad am I to only be a visitor to the Florida house? So, so glad.

Excuse me. I was gone for ten days and it's time to hunt bracken. Which I will do, gladly.

More information on Cuban tree frogs at University of Florida extension

No comments:

Post a Comment