Cuban Treefrogs

The invasive Cuban treefrog is a nuisance to Florida homeowners, and the amphibian threatens Florida’s native treefrog populations.

What Are Cuban Treefrogs?

While the Cuban treefrog, Osteopilus septentrionalis, is native to Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas, it is an introduced species in Florida. The frog can be found from the Florida Keys to Gainesville and Jacksonville, with sightings throughout Florida’s panhandle and beyond.

Cuban treefrogs are the largest treefrog found in Florida and can grow to more than six inches in length. Other features include the following:

  • Large “bug-eyed” eyes
  • Large toepads—significantly larger than native treefrogs
  • Rough or warty skin
  • Wavy patterns or blotches on their back
  • Various skin colors — usually creamy white to light brown but can also be green, gray, yellow, or a combination of colors
  • Males have a distinct call that sounds like a squeaking door, often described as a “snoring rasp”
  • Appear to have a yellow color where the legs meet the body
  • Young Cuban treefrogs can have red eyes, light lines down their sides, and blue bones

Cuban treefrogs secrete an irritating substance, so you should not touch the animals with your bare hands. Keep your pets away from them, too.

Because Cuban treefrogs can be difficult to distinguish from native treefrogs, get help identifying treefrogs from UF/IFAS Wildlife or your local UF/IFAS Extension office.

Problems & Threats

Cuban treefrogs can be found in natural, suburban, agricultural, and urban settings.

Negative Impact on Native Species

In natural and urban settings, Cuban treefrogs eat Florida’s native treefrogs, as well as lizards and many invertebrates.

Home Problems

Cuban treefrogs thrive in human-modified areas, and populations can be dense enough to be a nuisance. These treefrogs often enter homes through doors, windows, and plumbing.

Cuban treefrogs can cause the following problems in homes:

  • Clogged drains
  • Egg masses in pools and decorative ponds (which cause a subsequent increase of Cuban treefrogs around the home)
  • Occupying nesting boxes meant for birds
  • Burning and irritation of eyes and nose from contact with Cuban treefrogs
  • Power interruptions because the frogs get into transformers and electrical switches and cause short circuits

What You Can Do

You can help manage this invasive species in and around your yard. Because Cuban treefrogs eat native frogs and other wildlife, reducing their negative impacts helps sustain Florida’s natural environment.

Reporting Cuban Treefrogs

If you find a Cuban treefrog, email Dr. Steve A. Johnson of the University of Florida. In your email include:

  • The county where you saw the frog
  • A street address of the location for mapping purposes
  • A digital photograph of the frog (if possible) for identification

Capture & Humane Euthanization

Because native treefrogs pose an invasive threat and cause many problems, UF/IFAS recommends you capture and humanely euthanize Cuban treefrogs.

You can also reduce Cuban treefrog impacts by eliminating their eggs and potential breeding sites.

Be positive about the frog’s identification before euthanizing what you believe to be a Cuban treefrog.

Catching Cuban Treefrogs by Hand

You can capture Cuban treefrogs by simply grabbing them from their perch sites. Be sure to wear rubber gloves or use a plastic grocery bag as a glove. Approach the frog and grasp it firmly in a continuous, swift movement.

Collecting Frogs in Pipes

You can also attract the frogs to hiding places where they can be easily captured and removed.

Place 3-foot long segments of 1½-inch diameter PVC pipe in the ground around your home and garden. After a few days or weeks, frogs will appear in the pipes.

To remove a frog from a pipe, pull the pipe out of the ground and place a clear plastic bag over one end. Insert a broom handle or other plunger device in the other end to scare the frog into the bag.

Let native treefrogs return inside the pipe.

Humanely Euthanizing Cuban Treefrogs

Remember to use gloves when touching the Cuban treefrog.

After positively identifying a frog as a Cuban treefrog, humanely euthanize by applying benzocaine ointment—a numbing agent used to treat skin pain and itching—to the frog’s back. Name brand and generic products are available over-the-counter in tubes or sprays.

After the ointment is applied, place the frog in a sealable plastic bag for 15–20 minutes, so the benzocaine makes the frog unconscious.

Keep the frog in the bag, and place it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, throw it away in the trash. Do not throw live frogs in the trash.

For questions about Cuban treefrogs and their impacts, contact Dr. Steve Johnson or your local Extension office.

Adapted and excerpted from:

S. Johnson, The Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in Florida (WEC218), Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (rev. 09/2013).

S. Johnson, Florida Invader: Cuban Treefrog (WEC301), Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (rev. 02/2014).


Posted: August 24, 2015

Category: Home Landscapes, Pests & Disease, SFYL Hot Topic
Tags: Cuban Treefrog, Environment Hot Topic, Frogs, Invasive Animals, Invasive Species, Managing Invasives, Treefrogs


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April 23, 2017

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February 7, 2017

Thanks for your support, Janet!

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February 7, 2017

Thanks for your support, Shirley!

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February 7, 2017

Hi, Eric! Do you need help contacting the UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County office?

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November 29, 2016

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Hi Christine. Sorry you're having this problem. The videos are on pause when you open the page, but if you click the play icon, they should start up. Please let us know if you are still having difficulties.

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June 29, 2016

BTW: Tech issues with this page: the videos on the mosquito workshop embedded are on pause and will not play.

Christine Foltz
June 29, 2016

I am working on a Farm-To-Table Educational Workshop Project to take nationally and wondered if there was any kind of grant programs available for projects such as this?

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May 3, 2016

Hi, Amanda. UF/IFAS doesn't promote or endorse products, but thank you for your interest!

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May 1, 2016

If you would like to highlight a Florida-grown product that would fulfill the magnesium deficiency, such as peanuts, I would be happy to provide you with photos. UF IFAS is always such a big supporter of Florida's farmers.

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February 26, 2016

Hi, June. Thank you for your question. I recommend taking a look at these UF/IFAS publications for more information on removing nuisance armadillos: The Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) -- see the section called "Methods of Control" Baiting the Nine-Banded Armadillo Dealing with Unwanted Wildlife in an Urban Environment -- see the section called "Armadillos" I hope these are helpful to you, and please let us know if you have any more questions.

February 24, 2016

I have a family of armadillos under my shed. I also have dogs and do not want them in my yard. How can I get rid of them humanly?

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February 10, 2016

Julieta, this is the answer to your question from Dr. Jonathan Crane, a UF/IFAS Extension Topical Fruit Crop Specialist: "1.Propagation of kumquat by seed may or may not result in the same identical plant. Kumquats can produce seed from nucellar (mother plant) tissue and through cross pollination with other citrus. 2.Propagation by seed usually results in weak plants. 3.Kumquat is mostly propagated by grafting or budding onto cold hardy rootstocks (usually trifoliate orange, ‘Flying Dragon’)."

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February 10, 2016

Hi, Julieta. Thank you for your message. I am consulting one of our experts about your question and hope to have an answer for you soon.

December 23, 2015

The ones I am eating today are from Alachua County and they are delicious. If I plant the seeds, will I get perfect kumquats again or I wonder if I will get part of a hybrid or rootstock.

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October 21, 2015

Hi, Linda. Thank you for your message. I am consulting one of our experts and hope to answer your question soon.

October 18, 2015

where can I buy local pecans in Florida?


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September 16, 2015

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September 15, 2015

Hi, Tomatoes need about 1-2 inches of water per week. If rainfall is not enough, water plants thoroughly once a week. Heavy soakings once a week are better than many light sprinklings. More frequent watering may be needed in sandy soils, especially in the first week plants are set. Include a lot of organics in your soil to help absorb and hold water. For more information go here: | Thanks!

September 11, 2015

How often should I water my tomato plants?

August 27, 2015

I am in the Florida Keys and haven't seen any native tree frogs for decades. I have pretty much eliminated Bufos from my property. I enjoy the insect control provided by the Cuban Tree Frogs but would happily trade them for native Green Tree Frogs. My problem is when I eliminate the invasives how/where can I get natives, hopefully tadpoles, to repopulate.

A. Leon Polhill
August 27, 2015

The first sentence under the 'Capture & Humane Euthanization' section erroneously identifies native tree frogs as culprits when it should read Cuban treefrogs. BTW, Paula & I enjoyed being led by Dr. Johnson on a rafting trip down the Snake River several years ago. Thanks for the memories.

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