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June13, 2001

One Iguana and More Illegal Ornate Horned Frogs Turned In

Honolulu - More illegal animals have been turned in over the past week-and-a-half under the state's amnesty program.

On Sunday, June 3, two unidentified women turned in a two-foot-long green iguana, Iguana iguana, at the front desk at the Honolulu Zoo.

On Sunday, June 10, an unidentified male and his family approached a zookeeper and turned in a box containing 12 illegal ornate horned frogs, Ceratophrys ornatus, also known in the pet trade as Pac Man frogs. The frogs, which are an inch-and-a-half long, are of the same species as 18 that were turned in to the zoo earlier in May.

A photo opportunity of the iguana and 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 Cooke Street, which is now open, and head makai. Ohe Street is now closed.

The Ornate Horned Frogs are native to eastern Brazil and eastern Argentina. 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.

Although iguanas are believed to be established in Waimanalo on Oahu, it is illegal to possess or transport iguanas in Hawaii. Iguanas, when full grown, can reach up to six feet in length. Its tail can be quite powerful, acting as a dangerous weapon in fending off enemies. Native to central Mexico through South America, iguanas are typically vegetarians, but are known to disturb bird nestlings and feed on eggs.

Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in jail. Individuals with illegal pets are encouraged to turn them in under the department's Amnesty Program. Anyone with information or knowledge of illegal animals in Hawaii is asked to call the department's PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST(7378).