Hitchhiking Cuban banana frog becomes DWR pet after its trip to Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A Cuban tree frog took quite the trip — hitchhiking to Salt Lake City and ending up on a pack of bananas at a wholesale warehouse.

A Salt Lake City woman found the frog and called the Division of Wildlife Resources, which they said was the right thing to do. The DWR said their biologist picked up the frog and ended up keeping him as a pet.

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Cuban tree frogs are legal to have as pets in Utah if they are acquired through proper importation processes, the DWR said. The species reportedly has large toe pads and is known to hitchhike on produce (especially bananas), tropical plants, and vehicles.

In the same announcement, the DWR reminded Utahns it is not only an issue to release non-native species, it is harmful and illegal.

“If you’ve decided that caring for your pet fish is no longer an option, why not release it into a local pond or stream where it can break free of the confines of a bowl, make new fish friends and swim happily ever after?” the DWR asks. “Unfortunately, that isn’t what’s likely to happen.”

Your pet could:

  • Slowly starve to death

  • Become a tasty meal for a predator

  • Introduce harmful pathogens or parasites to native populations

  • Outcompete native species for limited food resources

  • Prey directly on native species

  • Survive, multiply and become an invasive species

Once illegally transported fish (or in this case frogs) become established in a waterbody, the community there is forever changed, the DWR said. “Don’t ditch your pet … call us for help properly disposing of aquarium species.”

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