A lone Cuban tree frog lost its life and caused a sizeable power outage after coming in contact with high-voltage equipment. The Cuban tree frog is a highly invasive species and is the largest tree frog in North America.
In the early morning hours of Friday, over 800 customers of Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) experienced a power outage after a single tree frog came in contact with high-voltage electrical equipment outside a KUA electrical substation. Evidently, the Cuban tree frog made its way up the utility pole and made contact with the equipment at about 4:04 a.m. Fortunately, all power was restored by 5:25 a.m.
"The frog did not survive," said KUA in a statement. It further states that while Cuban tree frogs often sleep above ground in the day, they forage for food during nighttime, often around sources of artificial light. Unfortunately, this behavior occasionally leads them to climb up utility poles where they can come in contact with dangerous equipment.
KUA is Florida's sixth largest community-owned utility company that supplies power to over 70,000 customers in Osceola County.
Cuban Tree Frogs
Cuban tree frogs are described as excellent climbers that tend to eat anything that they can overpower or fit into their mouths. This includes insects, snails, spiders, crustaceans, snakes, lizards, and even other Cuban tree frogs. In fact, they are such voracious eaters that many first reports of Cuban tree frog sightings led to the gradual disappearance of other frogs, toads, and lizards.
These creatures eat so much that they are already considered an invasive species that poses a threat to Florida's native wildlife and biodiversity They were first brought to Florida in 1931 and became established in the state by 1952. Similarly, the presence of Cuban tree frogs in Puerto Rico has been established since the 1950s, and there they are also considered an invasive species.
They have since been observed in Alabama, Georgia, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and even Ontario, Canada, but these populations are not considered established.
Identifying Cuban Tree Frogs
Compared to many of Florida's native tree frog species, Cuban tree frogs are pretty massive. Though the one that caused the power outage was said to be in excess of 6 inches, adults generally grow up to 5 inches in body length. They also have massive toe pads, bumpy back skin similar to toads', and can vary in color from pale tan or green with no markings to dark brown or green with even darker markings on its back and legs. They may even look white when they are cold or not active.