Cuban Tree Frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)

Perhaps a defensive mechanism or it was just relying on it’s toxic skin but the frog absolutely froze as I came near.

A typical Anguillian night is usually an opera house with the chimes of crickets and the occasional crow of the rooster. It was not until recently that the deep bass of the Cuban Tree frog joined the choir. Being an invasive species to the island, the Osteopilus septentrionalis or Cuban Tree Frog made it’s first appearance in Anguilla in the late 90’s. It is believed that the frog hitch-hiked to the island via ornamental plants used for landscaping at the various hotels. Another theory is that it arrived to the island on debris that washed up on our shores during hurricane Luis of 1995. While the latter theory may seem far fetched it is known that hurricanes transport seeds such as coconuts to different environments, therefore such an idea is plausible.

With no known natural predators of the Cuban Tree Frog here in Anguilla, it is encouraged to kill this frog on site for a variety of reasons. Due to the lack of annual rainfall cisterns are widely used throughout the island for rainwater storage. These amphibious creatures spawn there eggs in fresh water and because they mate all year round they are always looking for a source. If the Cuban Tree Frog makes it’s way into a cistern it will contaminate the water and make it unusable, however this is not the biggest concern. The frog excretes a toxic mucus from it’s skin that can cause irritation and severe allergic reactions and it is highly advised that the tree frog should not be handled.

The Cuban Tree Frog excretes a highly toxic mucus from it’s skin that causes skin irritation and can also induce asthma through severe allergic reactions.

At first thought one may believe that this frog is indigenous to Cuba but after doing some research it is native to the Caribbean region and is now an invasive species in Florida and Hawaii.  The Cuban prefix to this tree frog may have nothing to do with Cuba at all in terms of its origin. It may have came about due to the fact that the importation of certain Cuban goods are banned within the United States such as Cuban Cigars. While this frog is an invasive species in the U.S it was most likely was classified as Cuban because it is unwanted

After taking a few photos I pulled out the night vision camera to capture it on film. Enjoy.

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2 Comments on “Cuban Tree Frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)

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