Monitor lizard caught at Pearl Harbor-Hickam — The 18-inch animal likely hitched a ride inside a container from Malaysia, state officials say

(Via Star Advertiser)

An 18-inch Malayan water monitor lizard was captured Friday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the state Department of Agriculture announced.

Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard reported seeing a large black lizard the day before, running around a maintenance shop near the airfield, but pest control staff were unable to find it.

Officials with the Agriculture Department, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services joined the search Friday morning but also did not find the lizard. However, base personnel later in the day were able to corner the lizard and called the Agriculture Department to capture it.

Agriculture officials said it is suspected that the lizard may have been a hitchhiker on a recent arrival of containerized equipment from Malaysia.

Water monitor lizards are native to India, China, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the New Guinea Islands. They live in tropical areas and near bodies of water.

They can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds. Their diet is varied and can consist of crabs, mollusks, fish, snakes, turtles, birds, frogs, lizards, rodents, eggs, monkeys, small deer and carrion.

In Hawaii the lizard poses a threat to native and ground-nesting birds, according to agriculture officials.

Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state’s toll-free pest hotline at 643-PEST (7378).

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