Friday, November 6, 2009

This frog: cute or invasive?

I found this fellow hanging out on our kitchen windowsill the other night, probably attracted to the floodlight in our back yard.

It was pretty small (wish I'd taken a photo with something in the shot for size comparison), and quite calm. I thought his hazel eyes were beautiful, almost bronze.

I called Kyle out for a look and he thought it might be a Cuban treefrog - which would be bad. They're invasive - they eat our native Florida treefrogs and compete for resources with them. Florida treefrogs are much smaller and have significantly smaller toe pads. You can read more at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research & Education Center's Invasive Cuban treefrog web page.

Comparing this photo to one of a Cuban treefrog I found on the UF/IFAS web site, I'm afraid Kyle was right:

The problem with Cuban treefrogs is that their coloring can vary pretty widely, from really dark brown, to striped or splotchy. But the toe pads look pretty similar.

I was pretty bummed. You're supposed to humanely dispose of them - in fact, it's illegal to release them again. The best way to euthanize the Cuban treefrogs is to put a generous dose of benzocaine (20%) on either their backs or stomachs, which will render them unconscious. You then put them in a plastic baggie and place it in the freezer, where the froggy "goes to sleep." Be sure to wear gloves while doing this, as the frog can give off a slime that irritates the skin.

Not being sure at the time that it was a Cuban treefrog, I didn't do this. But I guess I'll have to if I see it again. (I kinda hope I don't see it again.)

1 comment:

Hips Unhinged Ltd said...

How are you meant to kill something that looks so damn cute? That's a fabulous picture and the frog has such an adorable 'smile'.