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Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

4 Animals That Live in Florida Trees and How to Deal with Them

Florida’s climate offers optimal living conditions for many animals. Several of those creatures dwell in or around trees in urban areas. You might hear tree frogs croaking in your backyard at night or come upon a snake resting on a branch. You don’t mind if animals use your trees as a home as long as they don’t harm the trees or the environment.

In the blog post below, we’ll discuss 4 animals that live in Florida trees. You’ll learn how to identify them, how they affect your trees, and how to deal with them.

1. Cuban Tree Frogs

Cuban tree frogs come in many colors, including gray, green, brown, or white, and their colors look solid or bear splotches or streaks. The varied appearance makes Cuban tree frogs difficult to identify, but they usually have the following characteristics:

  • Large toepads

  • Warty or bumpy skin

  • Size around 2.5 inches or longer

  • Call that sounds like “mraaaaak”

This tree frog species is not native to Florida. It came to the US on cargo ships in the 1920s from its original habitats, islands such as Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands.

Because Cuban tree frogs do not belong in Florida, they exert negative effects on the state’s ecology. The frogs’ loud call causes other tree frog species to croak loudly and give away their locations to their predators-which include Cuban tree frogs. Cuban tree frogs also eat lizards and small snakes. They may even stain your house with their feces or clog your plumbing

If you find Cuban tree frogs on your property, take care not to touch the slime on their skin, as it irritates your eyes or nose or triggers asthma attacks. If you desire to, capture the frogs in a plastic bag and then euthanize them humanely. This suggestion sounds harsh, but it’s actually illegal to re-release this frog species into the environment. Also, only euthanize frogs you have positively identified as Cuban tree frogs.

Apply a product with 20% benzocaine, such as toothache gel or burn spray, to the frog. The frog should become unconscious. Then, seal it in the plastic bag, leave the bag in the freezer overnight, and dispose of it the next morning.

2. Squirrels

Trees are squirrels’ natural habitat. They especially like trees that offer them an abundant food source, such as acorns or nuts. Squirrels benefit the environment by eating insects or seeds, but they behave in ways that annoy humans. They might gnaw on bark and weaken trees. They may also deter birds from visiting your backyard because they tend to consume food left in birdfeeders.

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to keep squirrels away from your trees. Unless your trees sustain serious harm from squirrels, let them live in peace. If you need to protect your trees from squirrel damage, try the following deterrents:

  • Trim the branches where squirrels nest. They will likely find a different tree in which to live. Consult professional tree trimmers if you aren’t sure which branches to cut.

  • Wrap the tree base in aluminum foil so squirrels cannot climb up. This method is most effective for lone trees that squirrels can only access by climbing the trunk rather than nearby trees or fences.

  • Apply a taste deterrent to the tree trunk and branches. The substance does not harm squirrels, but the foul taste discourages them from biting the bark again.

3. Rough Green Snakes

Snakes in trees sound scary, especially if you have a phobia of these slithering creatures. However, the rough green snakes that live in many

Florida trees generally try not to move when humans approach. They also eat many insects, a characteristic that gives them an important place in the food chain. Consequently, you should leave these snakes where they are when you encounter them in your trees.

You may never spot these snakes because they camouflage themselves well. If necessary, use their rough, bright green scales and light yellow or cream bellies to identify them. They grow to between two and three feet in length.

4. Snails

Florida hosts many snail species that spend almost their entire lives in trees. Unlike the land-dwelling snails that feed on valuable plants, Florida’s tree-dwelling snails are almost always harmless. They live mostly in hammock trees or shrubs, but you can also find them in urban backyards or citrus groves.

You don’t need to protect your trees from snails, but you may want to identify tree snails you find. To do so, consult the University of Florida’s tree snail dichotomous key.

Your yard’s trees make your house feel more homey, but remember they also serve as a residence for many creatures. Some tree-dwelling animals are pests, but others simply want to live in peace. If you have questions about how to deal with other animals in your trees, consult local tree experts.

Kimberly Woebse