Florida Native Frogs or Cuban Invaders?

Summer brings an over-abundance of frogs to my yard. I often find them tucked down inside curling pepper leaves or snoozing on top of a growing pepper. They don’t hurt the plants, but the invasive Cuban tree frog can hurt the environment, by killing off our native frogs.

Cuban Tree Frogs?

I think these are Cuban tree frogs. I have seen frogs like this inside my house. One day I had one sitting on a plate in my kitchen. When we first moved into our house a huge, whitish frog came out of the tub drain! I’d never let frogs creep me out before, but there was something about these that I never liked.

frogs sleeping the day away
3 Frogs on my front light – one is sitting on another

They are nocturnal and come alive in the evening when they hop all over the windows and door eating bugs.

They also leave their poop everywhere as you can see by my disgusting looking light. I think this photo shows the Cuban frog. This type of frog will kill and eat the cute green ones – which I never see these days. And the Cuban frog can become quite large. They can also get into the plumbing – they do that by getting onto the roof – and other places and become a big problem.

It is true that these frogs do not appear to be the cute little green frogs that were once everywhere in Florida. You literally could not avoid them and they were simply part of Florida life. Florida life has changed.

Tree frog sleeping on a green pepper
Tree frog napping on my garden pepper – he is what type???

After I had a palm tree cut down in my front yard, the frog population seemed to decline. They may have been living in the tree.

frog on pepper leaf
Frog on pepper leaf

Good Frogs

This striped frog is one I came across while cleaning out the yard. I’d had some plastic containers stacked, which had filled with water. I was getting rid of the containers and discovered this frog swimming around with a bunch of tiny creatures – possibly tadpoles..? Once I disturbed his home, he climbed out of the container and disappeared.

I think this frog may be the Florida Chorus frog, but I’m not sure. I hope he makes it. Life is tough for Florida wildlife.

Florida Tree Frogs or Cuban Pests?

Just like the little green lizards, the green Florida tree frog seems to be disappearing. Well, the Cuban tree frog could be the reason. This article at the UF site says to catch the invaders and humanely euthanize them! Put them into the fridge, then the freezer! Yikes.

I would have to know for sure I had the right type of frog. Some of the links below lead to pages with photos of Florida’s various types of frogs.

That is not a bird peeking out of my birdhouse. In fact, frogs can take over birdhouses so the birds can’t use them to nest.

Frog inside this birdhouse

One more thing to mention. We have a Ring camera set up in the backyard and witnessed an opossum climb the wall to the light and pull a frog off to eat it! I can’t say which type of frog it was, but I rarely ever see the cute green frogs. I would assume that the opossum ate a Cuban tree frog. Let’s hope so.

More Florida Frog Info Links

All links go to the University of Florida website pages.

Back to Life, My Florida Hydrangea Looks Good

Over winter here in Florida my hydrangea shrub became a bunch of sticks. The stems lost nearly all their leaves.

Hydrangea winter Florida January
January

After all danger of frost – around the end of February – I cut the stems back removing the old leaves. There were new leaf bud growths already forming along the stems.

hydrangea February garden Florida stems
February, after cutting back

Attempting to Propagate a New Plant

In the photos above and below I have placed a rock over a low hanging stem. I’m hoping that roots will form so I can cut this part off and plant it creating a new hydrangea plant!

Florida hydrangea garden perennial Spring
Rooting a stem

This hydrangea is growing in a nice shady location beneath a larger shrub. It seems to be happy and now I’ll just wait for the flowers.

All I’ve used for fertilizer is some bone meal and fish emulsion.

  • Florida hydrangea garden perennial Spring
  • Florida hydrangea garden perennial Spring
  • Florida hydrangea garden perennial Spring

Plant Florida Native Milkweed to Save Monarch Butterflies

My Florida yard is small but I am trying to fill it with native plants to attract bees, butterflies and wildlife. After reading another blog about planting milkweed to help monarchs survive and thrive, I began researching the types of milkweed to plant here in central Florida where I live.

Do Your Research and Plant Native

Big box stores sell plants that look nice, and are not necessarily concerned with native species. Customers usually want pretty things to brighten up the home landscape.

Bringing non-native plants into the yard can end up being a problem. Florida contains many invasive species – the air-potato and Brazilian Pepper trees come to mind. They invade and push out more native plants. This is also true for wildlife that has been imported, but that is another blog post.

Although this page is about milkweed, researching all types of native plants for the landscape will go a long way in helping the butterflies and birds. Native plants will survive nicely, with little help, when planted where they should be.

Butterfly weed orange flowers for monarch butterflies
Butterflyweed

Types of Florida Native Milkweed

There may be more types, but this is what I found when writing this page. Visiting a local nursery that sells local plants could be very helpful.

  • Orange Butterfly Weed – reddish orange flowers, blooms late spring through fall – I had a volunteer pop up in my yard!
  • Pink Milkweed – light pink flowers, summer blooming
  • Swamp Milkweed – light pink to white, tolerates some shade
pink milkweed plants to save monarch butterflies
Pink Milkweed

Read more about milkweed and the Monarchs at this page on the Florida Wildflower Foundation site.

Plant Real Florida is a great site for anyone wishing to fill their yard with native vegetation.

Florida Milkweed pdf With Photos and Info

The link above goes to a file found on the Xerces Society site which has many articles about Project Milkweed and has Regional Milkweed Guides in printable pdf. form for many areas of the country.

monarch butterfly milkweed
Monarch butterfly on milkweed

Daytona, A Place to Avoid

It may be no surprise to my readers that I dislike the way things are going in Florida. I visit the cities as little as possible, but had to go to Daytona the other day. With the races, bike week, and whatever else goes on to attract tourists to this place, Daytona is definitely a place I avoid.

This Covid mask-wearing thing is getting so old. I am grateful to have a work-from-home job where I can be mask-free all day long. But I am not sure how long it will be worth it to work. Last year things began to slow down and it just got worse and worse. Products are not available to put designs on, and people are out of work and can’t buy things anyway.

Whenever I think about leaving the house to go shop and then I remember I will have to wear a mask – and I stay home.

Many products are hard to get, including specialty cat food. My cat needs special food because she has intestinal issues. She tends to have diarrhea if she eats the wrong things and a cat with diarrhea is not fun! So I spend loads of money on special, prescription cat food. Now this type of cat food has become hard to get. The store in Daytona had it, so I picked up my prescription from the vet (so ridiculous) and my son drove us up to PetSmart.

It turned out they had one bag left… so kitty will be diarrhea free for now.

Skittle the Cat
Skittle the Cat

By the way, Daytona is not a place I EVER visit. Long ago I used to drive to the mall, and pass the Speedway and the dog track and lots of green forests. But developers see trees as being in the way, and they can’t wait to flatten acres of land to put up stores, restaurants, car dealerships, and apartment buildings and condos. This is typical Florida now.

Roads are now 4-lane where they used to be single lane. This is a good reason to stay home. I took these photos the other day as we sat in a turn lane with the big “Welcome to Daytona Beach” sign in front of us. We were right next to the Daytona Speedway (below).

I always wonder where people lived before Florida that was so bad that they actually like it here. My eyesight is getting bad so I don’t drive much, and I certainly don’t like to drive to Daytona. It used to be an iconic place and now it is dumpy and touristy and traffic is crazy.

If you like traffic, crowds of people, sitting at lights for long amounts of time, eating fast food, shopping, and being baked under the endless sunshine, come on down. This is the place to be.

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