Ribbit! Foraging Tree Frog Knocks Out Power to 800 in Kissimmee

KISSIMMEE, Fla., May 11, 2018 – At 4:04 a.m. this morning, while most residents were sleeping, a lone Cuban tree frog made its way up a utility pole outside a Kissimmee Utility Authority electrical substation, adjacent to Kissimmee’s Rose Hill Cemetery. The frog came in contact with high voltage electrical equipment which resulted in a power outage that affected 807 utility customers in the Mill Run area of the city. All power was restored at 5:25 a.m. The frog did not survive.

As excellent climbers, Cuban tree frogs will typically sleep above ground during the day. During the night, they forage for insects around sources of artificial light. They will eat anything they can overpower and fits into their mouths, including snails, spiders, insects, other frogs (even other Cuban tree frogs), snakes, lizards, small crustaceans, and hatchling birds in their nests. Their foraging will occasionally take them up utility poles, where they can cause short-circuits of utility switches, causing power outages.

A highly invasive species, the Cuban tree frog is the largest tree frog in North America and can grow in excess of six inches in length.

Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility powering 74,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.