The earliest records of Cuban Tree Frogs in Florida date to the 1920s in the Keys. They now are found as far north as South Carolina and Louisiana. Climate will determine their ultimate distribution – if current warming continues, they could become established across most of the Southeast.
By at least the mid-1920s, Cuban Tree Frogs were established in the Florida Keys, likely having arrived via cargo transported on ships. The species is now found in the majority of counties in Florida, including Alachua County where the University of Florida is based. Records of this invasive species now extend beyond Florida into neighboring states and as far as South Carolina and Louisiana.
This species, native to islands in the Caribbean including Cuba, is the largest species of tree frog found in Florida and reaches up to 5 inches in length. This hardy species is easily transported by humans in cargo and plants. Females can lay more than 10,000 eggs in a single breeding season. They have a negative impact on local wildlife because they eat native frog species as well as other native species of lizards and insects.
In urban and suburban areas they are common in and around houses, and often make themselves conspicuous by clinging to windows on wet nights and making their distinctive raspy mating call. While you can take measures to reduce the number of Cuban Tree Frogs in your own yard, large-scale eradication efforts will be necessary if we want to effectively remove this invasive frog species.
Associate Curator, Herpetology
Florida Museum of Natural History
Cuban Tree Frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)
From Miami-Dade Co., Florida, Mar. 2002