The state of Florida has 27 native species of frogs, 14 of which call South Florida home. The Sunshine State is also home to many native species of lizards. While we come into contact with these amphibians and reptiles daily, most people do not know that frogs and lizards play a critical role in keeping insects away from their homes. This article will provide you with insight as to how these two species of reptiles play such an essential role in our ecosystem, as well as some risks these critters can pose to you and your pets.
Frogs: The Pest Control Experts
Did you know that a single frog or toad can eat over 1,000 insects in just one season? Frogs play a significant role in not only keeping your home bug-free, but also protecting your family’s health because they feast on harmful insects such as mosquitos, fire ants, and disease-ridden flies. In addition to being extermination professionals, frogs are also bioindicators. A bioindicator is something that can tell you about the health of your lawn, garden, and shrubbery. A plethora of frogs hanging out around your home is a good indication that your yard is in good health. If you notice a sudden decrease in the frog population at your home, it could be an indication that there is an issue that needs to be attended to quickly.
The Downside Of Frogs
While frogs play a significant role in keeping pests away from your home, there are downsides to having them near your home.
- You May Mistake Their Droppings
There is the potential for a frog or two to get into your home through an open door or broken screen. Since frog droppings look a lot like rodent droppings, many homeowners mistake the presence of a frog in their home for a rodent infestation. Before you panic and jump to conclusions at the sight of animal droppings, contact a licensed pest control professional to identify the droppings. The last thing you want to do is purchase an abundance of mouse traps and poison, only to discover that the culprit was a single frog.
- They Can Cause Harm
Certain species of frogs and toads that are native to Florida can cause harm to humans and pets. For example, the cane toad produces a highly-toxic salve-like substance that can be lethal for dogs and cats. While cane toads do eat many pests such as centipedes, roaches, spiders, and bees, their presence on your property could come at a cost. If you spot a cane toad near your home, call on a professional to remove it.
Lizards and Pest Control
Florida is home to over 29 species of lizards, the most common being the Brown Anole. Lizards are an excellent way to keep the insect population around your home at a low. The presence of lizards around your house can help to keep your family healthy since they feast on small, disease-carrying insects such as flies and crickets. Next time you see a lizard climbing on the outside of your house or scurrying across the sidewalk, don’t be so quick to chase it away.
Similar to frogs, there are a couple of downsides to having an abundance of lizards near your home.
- They Carry Disease
Lizards are known to carry salmonella. Even if a lizard appears to be healthy, germs can still be found on their skin that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, headache, and fever in humans.
- Large Lizards Can Cause Major Damage
Large lizards like the Green Iguana and Nile Monitor have sharp teeth and bad tempers. Iguanas can damage your yard, shrubbery, and garden. The Nile Monitor is a carnivorous species of lizard and have been known to attack livestock and small house pets. These giant lizards have also been known to bite humans.
What’s The Verdict?
Many Floridians are put off by the appearance of frogs and lizards; however, the presence of these small animals can go a long way in keeping harmful pests away from your home and family members. While it is good to have frogs and lizards present near your home in small numbers, you do not want to experience an infestation. An infestation could leave your yard and garden demolished. Also, certain species of frogs and lizards can be harmful to humans and house pets. Thus, being able to identify them accurately is critical. If you suspect the presence of a harmful frog, toad, or lizard, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Instead, enlist help from a local pest control expert.