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We’ve received several calls over the last couple of months informing us of some sort of ‘monster frog’ that invaded people’s gardens and porches. Some of the informants were even stunned and frightened by what they encountered.
We knew what to tell them, because the species is on the Island since 2006 and a sample is already in our freezer for quite some time already.
By means of some untraceable, but clearly unsanitized shipment of merchandise, the Cuban Tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) was able to expand it’s area of distribution, and Curacao is now also invaded. These animals can even survive journeys by ship, while locked away in a container. When they finally get out, they’ll start feeding on insects, but also geckos and even bird hatchlings. And that’s what makes them invasive. They are nocturnal and they can climb pretty well by means of their sticky toes, so they are able to apply stealthy moves to capture food. The local fauna has no defense against such a predator (yet), so this frog might pose a real threat. The only environmental characteristic of our Island that plays against it is the semi-arid climate zone we’re in. Frogs need lots of moisture, so hopefully the relatively dry character of our Island will limit it’s procreation.
Although … dry? The last couple of years were relatively wet. And that’s probably why we are receiving those calls, all of a sudden. The beast is doing well at this moment. At first, the calls came from the De Savaan and Julianadorp region, a clear indication that the original source of contamination was in that neighborhood. But later calls are coming from other neighborhoods as well, unfortunately. Let’s hope it stays out of the ‘mondi’, and will continue to harass only humans (but don’t worry too much about that, it is harmless to humans). If not, measures might be in order.