Cuban Tree Frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)

Osteopilus septentrionalis - Cuban tree frogDescription:

Cuban tree frogs are the largest species of tree frog in North America, ranging from 3 to 5.5 inches long, with females being the larger of the two sexes. They also feature some of the largest toepads seen in tree frogs. The coloring of their rough and warty skin depends on the surrounding temperature and environment, as Cuban tree frogs change their skin color to suit both, however, common shades include olive-green, blue-green, bronze, brown, tan, gray, and grayish-white.

Interesting Physical Characteristics:

On a Cuban tree frog, the skin on their heads is fused to their skull. This is a feature that aids in water-loss prevention. Their skin also secretes a toxic mucus which can cause a burning sensation or instigate an allergy attack in the human who handles it.

Cuban tree frog on branch

Cuban tree frog image by: Thomas Brown – http://www.flickr.com/photos/63048706@N06/8573972835/ CC BY 2.0

Location:

Native to Cuba, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Isla de la Juventud

Habitat:

The Cuban tree frog requires an environment that never falls below 50°F and where a daytime temperature ranging from 73 to 84°F is maintained. Like many other species of tree frogs, the Cuban variety seeks out trees and plants near bodies of water in areas where the humidity is consistently very high.

Diet:

Cuban Tree frogs will devour anything it can overpower: snails, insects, snakes, lizards, crustaceans, spiders, hatchling birds, and other frogs (including other Cuban tree frogs). In fact, keeping Cuban tree frogs in the same tank as other species of frogs can prove fatal to the other species, as the Cuban tree frog can and sometimes will eat them.

Breeding:

Cuban tree frogs breed all year, but reproduction usually takes place between May and October. On average, a female can lay 3,000 eggs in one clutch. Those eggs hatch within 30 hours and within one month, the tadpoles mature into full grown frogs.

Lifespan:

Cuban tree frogs can live anywhere from 5 to 10 years.

Ecosystem role:

The Cuban tree frog is considered an invasive species in Florida, Oahu, and parts of the Caribbean. This means that its presence is doing great harm to the native animal populations. In this case, Cuban tree frogs are causing a decline in the indigenous tree frog population.

Cuban tree frogs are also seen as a nuisance for humans as well: they take over birdhouses, clog sink drains, and sometimes cause power outages by short-circuiting utility switches.

 

 

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