Posted by: Anna Webb | July 20, 2009

Catching Coqui

Coqui (Ko-kee) Frogs are only the size of a quarter but their voice is large!

Coqui (Ko-kee) Frogs are only the size of a quarter but their voice is as loud as a lawn mower!

This will be a short blog about catching coqui frogs. First, for the benefit of my mainland readers, I’ll explain briefly what they are and why they’re here.

Coqui (pronounced Ko-kee) frogs, AKA Caribbean Tree Frog, are indigenous to Puerto Rico and hopped a ride to Hawaii’s Big Island via imported house plants. These little guys (and gals) are about the size of a quarter yet pack a very loud voice. Loud, as in the same decibel level as a lawn mower. The males are the vocal ones as the females have no say whatsoever, thankfully in this case.

They are considered an invasive species in Hawaii because they are considered to have an adverse impact on the environment. In addition, they have no predators to keep their populations down. They reproduce at near the speed of light and have invaded most areas of the Big Island now. Personally, they don’t bother me. It reminds me of August in the Midwest when the katydids become vocal and they provide a nice choral backdrop to the evening. But, when a single one gets under your windowsill at bedtime, it is extremely annoying.

A friend of a friend mentioned an effective way to catch them, however, there is a missing piece to the puzzle. I thought possibly my readers could be of assistance. The following is how it was mentioned to catch the frogs. First, take a black plastic, preferably deep planting pot (probably the 1 gallon size will do), tape up the drainage holes in the bottom and spray the entire inside “walls” of the pot with WD 40. In the bottom, place ______. (this is the missing piece). I’m thinking vegetable matter, wet leaves, etc. The idea is, they climb in but can’t climb back out because the inside is slick and it’s too deep to jump out.

It’s a good idea and according to my friend, this person had several in the pots each morning. Unfortunately, this person is now on mainland for the Summer and we can’t reach him to find out what to place in the bottom.

Now, what you do with them once you catch them is your business, just as what I do with them is my business. This is not a blog to start a debate on whether or not to “save the coqui” or “kill the coqui”. It is simply to share information on how to catch the coqui.

So, if anyone knows or has ideas of what to put in the bottom of the pot, please submit a comment. When we moved to the coast from the Hawaiian Acres area, we took care not to transport them down here. When checking my potted plants and empty pots to bring, I found several trying to stow away as they like cool, damp places.

Links to read more about the coqui frog:


  1. Please, you’ve got to follow up on this post for us with the mysterious “_____” component of your trap description! Or is this an attempt to bait us instead, the hapless readers of TDF!

    The coqui’s have discovered my high climbing tomato plants alongside my house and the shrilling decibel levels are drilling at frontal lobe! Please follow up on this post!

  2. Trust me, this is not a “bait”! (no pun intended). That’s why I posted this – I’m looking for suggestions. I think I’m going to experiment and I’ll post my results.

    The coquis used to only be down in the front of the property here – and now they are migrating up behind the house, much closer. I walked out onto the front lanai the other night and there was one on the picture window. They’ve never come around the house.

    A solution is imminent!

  3. In the mean time while I await a solution, I am dolling out a line of my used coffee grounds daily to border my garden containers in the hopes that the critters will want to stay away from the caffinated crumbles.

  4. To attract Coqui frogs, you need to attract their favored food source: fruit flies. One quick method of attracting fruit flies is to use Methyl Eugenol (ME), a pheromone that lures male oriental furit flies. See:

    Where to get ME? It occurs naturally in many plants and essential oils, and is a common flavoring ingredient added to foods, candy and gum. Clove oil contains approximately 15% ME, so I’d start by putting clove oil on some rotting fruit, especially banana peels (because they also contain ME) and bubble gum!!

  5. Of course, any pertubation of the environment may have unintended consequences, so PLEASE NOTE: On May 9, 2006, the Fish and Wildlife Service placed 12 species of picture-wing fruit flies from the Hawaiian islands on the endangered or threatened list, and as ME is an attractant for fruit flies, manufacturers of end-use products must make sure ME is not used in areas where populations of these flies may be significantly impacted. Since you’re only attracting them (and hopefully removing one of their predators), this should not be a problem for small-scale residential use.

  6. Thanks Craig! I’m going to try to get at least two pots together for this evening. I will post my results here either with an update to this blog – or with a new blog.

  7. Aloha, Craig…..fancy meeting you here….!

    I’m also interested as they have invaded our area in full force….it took a while, but once they found us, they must have issued invitations!


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