Hyla cinerea, the American green treefrog (young), photographed in Volusia county, Florida (24 September 2014).
September seems to be winding down, and October looms just around the corner. Pretty soon, Central Florida is going to be thrust into the frigid domain of lower-70s and upper-60s. Time for us all to collectively pull out our Floridian jackets and freedom-hating socks, I suppose. But not yet. No, no, no, not yet. “Fall” in Florida is quite awesome… because we don’t really have one. For us, Fall is simply a subtle slipping from Summer to Winter — the latter being, itself, rather mild by most North American standards. Florida may be a somewhat insane state, but, hey, membership has its advantages. For now, at least.
In some ways, Fall can almost feel like Spring. The intense summer heat eases off a bit, and wildlife can be a bit more active and present, especially as October thickens. As for September, well… It’s often a crazy month. September is the red-flag month for tropical storm activity and erratically powerful thunderstorms. Though we haven’t had tropical storm activity yet this season, we have had some crazed thunderstorms. Last night and this morning, for example, Volusia county was inundated by a massive and powerful thunderstorm system. We’ve collectively had plenty of flash flooding, standing water, damaged property, and blown limbs today. Yay, September!
And that brings us to the little frog featured on this post. This is, I believe, a young American green treefrog, Hyla cinerea. It’s possible this is a young Squirrel treefrog (Hyla squirella), but I don’t think so at this time.
If this is an American green treefrog, it’s the first one I’ve seen in our neighborhood since moving in mid-2013. The frog was perched on one of our back windows (and still is as I type this). Now, what brought the frog to our window today of all days? Did one of the nearby managed ponds flood over from the rains and spill the greens outward and beyond? Did all that standing water serve as a kind of interstate of amphibian travel? Heh. Down here, a strong thunderstorm sometimes feels like the shuffling of a deck — only instead of cards, we get irregular visitors and a changing of the guard.
So far tonight, I’ve only seen this one, lone American green treefrog on our window. No others have shown up. Interestingly, I’m also not seeing any of our regular Cuban treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) out and about. We’ve had three regular Cuban treefrogs camped out in this area during most of the summer. They were there two nights ago… but tonight? The night after the storm? Gone. I haven’t seen any of them. Not a one. I have no idea where the Cuban treefrogs have gone off to.
This is certainly good news for our newly-arrived young Green treefrog… Cuban treefrogs, you see, are large and voracious predators — and this young Green treefrog is pretty much a cupcake as far as a Cuban treefrog is concerned. A lovely little snack. I did verbally warn the Green treefrog that the Cuban treefrogs are in the area, but the little frog doesn’t seem to mind. It’s still sitting there on the window, next to the patio light, loitering about for Good Eats of its own.
Heaven knows what will happen if and when the Cuban treefrogs return from wherever they were blown to last night and early this morning… Actually, I think it’s pretty clear what will happen. The Green treefrog is going to get the hell out of dodge — or it’s going to disappear down the gullet of one of our Cuban treefrogs.
September in Florida is fun.