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May 30, 2001

18 Illegal Ornate Horned Frogs Turned In Over Weekend

Honolulu - An unidentified local male turned in 18 juvenile Ornate Horned Frogs to the Honolulu Zoo on Sunday, May 27 under the state's amnesty program. The zoo reported that the male approached a zookeeper at the service entrance to the zoo on Sunday afternoon, turned in the frogs and left without providing further information.

The frogs were identified as Ornate Horned Frogs, Ceratophrys ornata, a species that is illegal for individuals to have in Hawaii. The juvenile frogs are about one inch long and are green in color with brown patterns. Adult frogs can measure between 4 and 6 inches and weigh up to a pound. The frogs were transported today to the Department of Agriculture's Plant Quarantine Branch.

The Ornate Horned Frogs are native to eastern Brazil and eastern Argentina and is also known in the pet trade as the Pac-Man frog. They derived the name from the triangular projections on its eyelids, which are not actual horns. Because of its somewhat grotesque appearance and coloration, some species are popular in the pet trade outside of Hawaii. The frogs are highly predaceous and cannibalistic and can swallow prey up to their own body size. They feed on frogs, lizards, mice and large insects. The species is known to be fearless and aggressive, even jumping at an enemy and biting. Their vocalization is similar to the bellowing of bovine.

A photo opportunity of the frogs is scheduled between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. this afternoon at the Plant Quarantine Station, located at 701 Ilalo Street. Due to road construction in the area, take Ohe Street makai toward Kakaako Park and enter from the back side of the Plant Quarantine Station

Persons caught with illegal animals face stiff penalties including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in jail. Anyone with information or knowledge of illegal animals in Hawaii is asked to call the department's PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST(7378).