Will Cuban tree frogs kill your pets?

A wildlife expert debunks common myths about this invasive species

Cuban Tree Frogs, an invasive species, have become a major issue across our state. They are a nuisance, but are not dangerous to our pets. However, they do destroy other native plants and reptiles. Here is what you should do if you see one.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many of you have been asking questions on social media about what to do about Cuban tree frogs. Diane Day Kiser posted a photo of one of the frogs in her yard on Next Door and asked, “Good or bad?”

News4Jax got some answers from wildlife expert Ron Magill.

“The Cuban tree frogs originally come from Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, they’re a Caribbean frog, but they were introduced into Florida in the 1920s,” Magill explained.

These large and aggressive frogs can be a nuisance when they take over your backyard, but, Magill said, despite popular belief, they do not pose a danger to pets.

“They really aren’t that dangerous. Now most frogs have some toxic substance on their skin, but it’s more of a toxic substance if you get it in your eyes or the mucus membrane,” he explained. ”It’s not like the marine toads, or people call them the Bufo toads. They actually have venom glands behind their eyes which if dogs bite, they’ll get sick and die, so it’s not to be confused with that.”

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So, what’s the best way to get rid of them? Magill said there is a specific technique he recommends.

“You don’t hit them with a baseball bat, you don’t just throw them in the freezer, that’s what people think you do with amphibians, you just throw them in the freezer, that’s not what you do,” he clarified. “If you want to do it humanely, you basically put on a pair of rubber gloves, you catch the frogs and you go get a suntan type of screen or Orajel which has the chemical benzocaine, you just rub a little of that gel on the back of the frog, put it in a plastic bag and in about 10 to 15 minutes it goes into a complete coma and it’s like anesthesia for the frog and then you can put it in the freezer overnight and that will humanely euthanize it and get rid of it. Again, it’s gonna be an uphill battle because we have a lot of frogs.”

While these Cuban tree frogs aren’t native to Florida, they are definitely here to stay.

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