Cuban Tree Frog

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Scientific name: Osteopilus septentrionalis

The basics:
A robust “treefrog giant”, the Cuban Treefrog makes a great pet for both novice and experienced amphibian fans.

The Cuban Treefrog naturally occurs in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Cuba. The Introduced populations are established in Florida, USA and on many Caribbean islands.

It is very adaptable, and may be found in trees near canal and river edges, brushy swamps, or rather far from water in the rain-filled tree hollows. Cuban Treefrogs also occur around gardens and homes, and exhibit a tolerance for the brackish waters of mangrove swamps.

Appearance / health:
The Cuban Treefrog is stout in build, with an average length of 9-14 cm (3.5-5.5 inches) and noticeably-large adhesive discs on the toes. The body color ranges from yellowish-gray to greenish-tan.

Well-cared-for pets may live to 20+ years of age. Digestive tract blockages resulting from ingested substrate is the most commonly encountered health problem.

Behavior / temperament:
Cuban Treefrogs are nocturnal, but will readily awaken to feed by day. While they will hop onto the hand for a meal, they should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet latex gloves, as their skin secretions are irritating to human skin, and, especially, to wounds, eyes, and the mouth.

Cuban Tree Frogs do well in groups if matched in size. High-style aquariums that allow climbing space are ideal. A 20 gallon tank makes a good home for 2 adults. Sphagnum, carpet moss, or terrarium liners may be used as substrates. Cork bark rolls, branches, plants and vines should be provided as perches and shelters.

These hardy survivors fare best when kept at 75-85 F. Treefrogs do not require Ultra-Violet B light, but anecdotal evidence indicates that low levels of UVB, along with UVA, may be of some benefit. The terrarium should be misted daily, and equipped with a water bowl. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water via liquid preparations available at pet stores.

A highly-varied diet is essential. Provide your pet with roaches, earthworms, sow bugs, crickets, locusts, butterworms, calciworms, cultured houseflies, silkworms, and other commercially available insects. Insects should be fed a healthful diet for several days before use.

Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin mineral supplement may be used 2-3x weekly.

Males may be distinguished from females by their smaller size and areas of rough skin (nuptial pads) on the thumbs. A commercial rain chamber, or increased misting, is useful in stimulating breeding behavior. Gravid females produce several thousand eggs. The tadpoles may be reared on a fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, and par-boiled kale. Metamorphosis is achieved in 3-5 weeks.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


pretty fun, attractive species, entertaining


escape artist, sensitive skin, toxin


nocturnal, hot temperatures, Tank cleanliness

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