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News Story
Updated: 04/17/2014 08:00:04AM
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PHOTO BY STEVE A. JOHNSON, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


Cuban Treefrogs are the largest species of treefrog in Florida.

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Three weeks ago I was awakened by a noise about 3 a.m. I went to investigate and found nothing but a sleeping cat on the footstool in the living room. Convinced the noise was coming from outside, I returned to bed. I did not get to sleep before I heard it again. This time I turned all the lights on inside and out.

The cat was awake by now but still laying in the same spot. As I surveyed the house I found the culprit, a frog. It was jumping from the wall to the closet door and back. Every time it hit the closet door, the door would vibrate.

I grabbed a towel from the laundry room and attempted to catch the little pest. I was running around the living room throwing the towel. I finally trapped the frog and threw it outside. The cat was still on the footstool. After a heart-to-heart talk with the cat about helping me next time, I returned to bed. There was no sleep for Barb that night.

A week and a half later I was awakened by something hitting my shoulder. I grabbed the mystery item and threw it on the floor. Jumping out of bed I turned on the light to find a stunned frog on the floor. Another towel and out the door it went.

We found out these frogs are taking a ride on the garage door to find their way into the house. Our roll-up screen on the garage stopped working last week. When Ken took it apart to investigate he found a dead frog inside.

According to the Florida Wildlife Extension website my pesky visitors were Cuban tree frogs. They are the largest tree frog in North America, ranging from 1.5 to 5 inches in length. I have the big ones.

These frogs are not native to Florida and came by way of Cuba or the Cayman Islands or Bahamas. They arrived accidentally in Florida in the 1920s, probably by cargo ship. They are considered invasive and the only way to control the population is to kill them. These frogs harm the ecosystem by eating native frogs, the occasional lizard or even a small snake. They poop on house walls and window sills, leaving a stain. They’ve been known to short-circuit lights and switches. They will clog sinks and toilets as well.

During the breeding season from May to October they have a very loud “mraaaak” yell. They can change color from pale/tan or green and sometimes brown. Their skin secretion is harmful. The mucus can cause allergy-like symptoms and trigger asthma. My cat knew not to mess with this frog.

Today was the last straw. I left my house for Lake Wales driving up U.S. 27. Out of the back seat sprang this frog. It was bouncing off the windshield to my arm to the passenger side window. I quickly pulled the car over and opened the windows. I opened the door on the passenger side and it hopped out. After I put my heart back in my chest I checked the car for any friends he may have brought along for the ride. The entire trip to Lake Wales had me on edge. This is the last time I leave my car windows open in the garage.




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