My Eyes! My Eyes! – Beware the Gray Tree Frog

My 6 year old son, Sebastian, ran screaming into the house! “My eyes! My eyes!” He sobbed. My wife quickly grabbed his arm and led him into the bathroom and began flushing his eyes out with water. Once the pain and irritation had subsided from his eyes and he had quit crying, we asked him what had happened.

After a couple of hours, he nervously admitted that he had been handling a frog. So, we began a search of our backyard for the frog that he had been holding. Once we had located it (or one similar to it) it was identified as a Gray Tree Frog . They are amazingly easy to locate and catch in our backyard. Sebastian had evidently rubbed or touched his eyes after handling the frog- and the frog’s skin secretions had caused the burning sensation and irritation of Sebastian’s eyes.

I had never heard or read about any native North American frog causing anyone a problem due to handling. (Old wives tales about warts not-with-standing). So, I retrieved one of my amphibian guidebooks down from the shelf and began investigating the Gray Tree Frog . In big bold letters, the author had noted that skin secretions from the Gray Tree Frog can cause severe eye irritation.

The Gray Tree Frog can be either of the two colors shown in the accompanying photographs- either light or dark gray. Note the “X” pattern on the back of the dark gray tree frog- this marking provides an easy way to identify it.

Beware the Gray Tree Frog . You have been warned. (You CAN kiss them. Just be sure not to touch your eyes.)