JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Department of Agriculture inspectors captured an 18-inch water monitor lizard at Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam on Friday, an "illegal animal" that officials say may have come from Malaysia via containerized equipment.
Hawaii Air National Guard personnel initially spotted the large black lizard running on its hind legs near a maintenance shop on Thursday, but multiple searches by pest control, HDOA, state Department of Land and Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had proved difficult. On Friday afternoon, base personnel cornered the lizard and HDOA inspectors managed to capture the animal.
According to HDOA, water monitor lizards are tropical animals native to India, China, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea Islands. They may grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh more than 100 pounds. Their diet consists of crabs, mollusks, fish, snakes, turtles, birds, frogs, lizards, rodents, eggs, monkeys, small deer and carrion.
These lizards may pose a threat to native and ground-nesting birds in Hawaii, HDOA said.
Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state's toll-free pest hotline at 808-643-PEST(7378).